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CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 




3 1924 079 601 633 



In compliance with current 

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EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH 



H. F. WOOD, 



author of 
"the englishman of the rue cain/* "avenged on society," etc. 



LONDON: CHAPMAN & HALL, ld. 
1896. 



PREFACE. 



The writer had scarcely returned from a stay- 
in Egypt as Special Correspondent for the Morning 
Advertiser and the Glasgow Herald, when the 
decision involving an immediate military advance 
towards Dongola was announced in the British 
Parliament. He has embodied in the present 
volume, side by side with confirmatory or illus- 
trative matter supplied to him at the last moment 
from local sources, much of the direct evidence 
which was collected by him, and contributed to 
the journals above-named, with respect to existing 
conditions in the New Egypt — the Egypt re-cast 
and re-formed as a body politic — that has arisen 
beneath British responsibility since 1882. Perhaps 
the momentous developments of influence or rule 



vi PREFACE. 

which have become a certain prospect, now, what- 
ever the rate of the process, for both the interior 
of the Egyptian Soudan and the regions around 
its borders, may but enhance, to English-speaking 
peoples, the interest attaching to the success or 
failure of British effort within the dominions held 
by the Khedive. 

May, 1896. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

PAGE 

At the threshold — The struggle of the languages — British busi- 
ness interests— Port Said no longer the " wickedest spot 
on earth " — French suspicion of a British structure — An 
"Evacuation speech " in England — The Port Said French 
and English clubs ... ... ... ... ... i 

CHAPTER II. 

Port Said versus Alexandria — Wanted, a railway — Local 
grievances — The Suez Canal Company — No English 
(except pilots) need apply — A missionary on the Field for 
trade — British trade-marks forged — A Birmingham com- 
mercial traveller tries Egypt for the first time — Isma'ilia 
a French settlement ... ... ... ... 18 

CHAPTER III. 

By rail through the Land of Goshen — Tel-el-Kebir — From 
Bedouins to Fellaheen — Business show-cards at the Delta 
railway-stations — Factory chimneys by the Nile — The 
British garrison at Alexandria — A tradition of the 
Gloucestershire Regiment — No outward symbols of the 
Occupation ... ... ... •■• ••• 3^ 



viii CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER IV. 

PAGE 

Certain of the " people who are here to keep order " — A 
British sergeant's view — At the site of Cleopatra's palace 
— Association football — Native sentiment on the Occu- 
pation — The fear to declare for the British, in case they 
should leave — Tactics of the French Opposition — A 
policy of worry, harass, and wear-out, if possible — 
British pledges ... ... ... ... ... 49 

CHAPTER V. 

Recrimination — French grievances — The British business 
community at a disadvantage — Tenders for Government 
contracts — British firms bid too high — The Fellaheen on 
the Foreigner — An Austrian financier on the Occupation 
— Probable result of a plibiscite ... ... ... 66 

CHAPTER VI. 

The " Anglicanization " of Cairo — Rule and Semi-Rule — 
Greek money-lenders in the villages — How they evade 
the law — The Fellaheen buying machinery — Two or three 
wives on thirty shillings a week — An English industry 
ruined by the English — Adaptability and consolation — 
Under-sold again — Alexandria versus Port Said— Official 
backsheesh .. .. ... ... ... 82 

CHAPTER VII. 

The Egyptian Newspaper Press — Pro-British organs — Organs 
of the French, Arab, and Turkish Oppositions — Journa- 
listic warfare — The programme of Hajee Abdullah Browne 
— Moustafa Kamel's campaign in France — Lord Dufferin's 
Organic Law — The judicial system — Reforms— Sitting of 
a Native Tribunal ... ... ... ... ... 117 



CONTENTS. ix 

CHAPTER VIII. 

PAGE 

Interview with the Sheikh Ali Youssef, editor of the Modiad 
— The leading daily paper of the Arab Opposition — Why 
the Modiad allies itself with the French party — French 
action in the matter of the reserve funds — Neither France, 
nor England, nor the Sultan — A choice between France 
and England — Egypt for the Egyptians ... ... 139 

CHAPTER IX. 

Dr. Nimr, of the Mokatiam, on the programme of the Modiad — 
— What " Egypt for the Egyptians " means — M. Deloncle 
and Moustafa Kamel : their anti-British pamphlets and 
lectures — Greater freedom of the Press in Egypt, under 
the British, than i; enjoyed by the French Press in France 
itself — Egypt envied by Syria — Fellaheen impressions — 
The Year of the Blessing ... ... ... ... 154 

CHAPTER X. 
Another standpoint — M. Kyriacopoulo on Egypt and the 
Eastern Question — The natives "recognize the benefits 
of the Occupation," but "fear to manifest their senti- 
ments : '' again, " not sure that the situation will con- 
tinue " — A suggestion to the British Government — 
Egypt in progress — The mistakes of Gladstonian England 
—What is " neutralization " ? ... ... ... 175 

CHAPTER XI. 

Egypt a school of languages — The Ottoman Spy system- 
Lord Cromer — Misgivings on all hands — "We have 
promised" — Lord Cromer's aims and impartiality — A 
parallel with 1796— Have the fellaheen short memories? 
— The plebiscite, if secret — News for politicians who 
would "give Syria to France" — The Khedive Abbas II. 
— Two judgments on Great Britain ... ... ... 189 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 



CHAPTER I. 

A French polemical author and journalist, writing 
a volume of " Croquis de l'Occupation Anglaise," 
ten years ago, complained in his opening chapter 
that the very first individual from Egyptian 
territory upon whom he and his compatriots set 
eyes, as their steamer hove-to at Alexandria, was 
an Arab who did not understand French, did not 
understand Italian, and could not be made to 
understand their friendly interrogatories by signs. 
He understood no European language but English. 
He was the pilot who had come on board to bring 
in their Messageries Maritimes boat, from Mar- 
seilles, and already, ten years ago, " Cet Arabe ne 
parlait qu y anglais ! " It seemed hard ; especially 
as the writer in question, together with M. Henri 
Le Verdier, who helped his volume with a vigorous 

B 



2 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

preface, insisted at the time, and continued to 
insist, upon the prior, the diversified, and the 
preponderating claims of France. "Thanks to 
French capital and labour," says M. Le Verdier, 
"here is' Egypt, one of the most important of 
strategical points, existing as one of the entrances 
to the East for the whole of Europe — and the 
English hold the keys of the gates!" What 
French capital and labour have done, in com- 
parison with English, may be gathered from the 
numerous works, but better from the French than 
from the others, that have dealt politically with 
modern Egypt up to 1882. What has been the 
idea of thoroughness, integrity, and economy, 
associated in Egypt itself with the idea of any 
European nationality, until the system which 
dates from 1882 was gradually enabled to bear 
some fruits, we shall have opportunities of testing 
later on. But, cet Arabe, at Alexandria, which 
the First Napoleon himself had declared " should 
be the capital of the world," ne parlait qu'anglais, 
and the injustice, or the impropriety, of fate 
seemed quite too bad. 

If any such sensitive citizen of the third republic 
were to push on nowadays to Port Said, and land 
at the entrance to the Suez Canal, instead of at 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 3 

the city founded by Alexander, the stress of his 
emotion might be sore indeed. " Here is the town 
which Ferdinand de Lesseps created," he might 
say, — "which sprang directly from that initial 
blow of the pickaxe given by the Grand Francais 
at the ceremony of April 25, 1859, — nere ls *h e 
seaport which ought to have been named Lesseps- 
ville, after its founder, instead of receiving a mere 
courtesy appellation, bestowed in compliment to 
the viceroy of the day, — and the very first things 
decipherable from the decks of vessels entering 
the mole from the Mediterranean, are the 
announcements of British commercial houses ! " 
Thus fate hath willed it, for the present The 
boards of "Ship Chandlers and Stevedores," 
" Shipbrokers," a coal company, limited, and a 
bank, are only a few amongst these conspicuous 
business intimations that are British. When we 
get to the basin, we shall find a "Bureau des 
Passeports " in the group of Government offices, 
but, even there, that instance stands alone. The 
painted inscriptions guiding to the " Coastguard 
Office," " Port Police," etc., are in English, the sole 
equivalent supplied for each being in Arabic 
characters. We have landed ; we have worried 
through the custom-house, amid a din of Arabic, 



4 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

under a hot sun ; and then, what language do we 
hear? 

The arrival of a British liner fills the quays and 
main streets with yelling and chattering Arabs, 
negroes, and yellow or copper-coloured nondescripts, 
whose medley of the English phrases will pursue 
the new-comer into the recesses of his hotel. The 
throng consists of hawkers, porters, touts, deformed 
and dirty mendicants, donkey-boys, and shoe- 
blacks, with the worst variety of sinister " guide." 
Costumes limited to the red or white takia skull- 
cap, and the long close-fitting blue gown, or to 
the ample turban and the gaudy flowing robe, or 
to the takia, the tunic, and a canvas sack for over- 
coat, meet the eye in every direction. Intermingled 
with these are dark-skinned brokers or traders, 
attired in either the robes and turban of their 
country, or in a semi-European garb, crowned 
with the tarbAsh, or fez. Levantines and negroids, 
Turks, and perhaps a Persian or two, or an 
Afghan ; Greeks, Maltese, and Italians ; British, 
French, and Arabs ; the concourse along the Rue 
du Commerce, at Port Sa'fd, and along the wharves, 
and about the caffc, the telegraph-office, and the 
banks, offers a fine picture, amid so many " make- 
shift " houses, in a town so evidently tentative, of 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 5 

the borderland where Christendom meets Islam. 
You go into the post-office, and amongst half a 
dozen individuals awaiting their turn, you find 
yourself to be the only European ; the others are 
native merchants, agents, or employes, and they 
are registering letters, cashing money orders, and 
despatching telegrams. You take the little tram- 
way line from the end of the Rue du Commerce, 
facing the basin and the ships, and it runs you 
through the centre of the town, past a square 
ornamented with a bust of M. de Lesseps, and 
away into the separate quarter of the squalid 
local Arabs. Back again — your companions in 
each trip being fairly representative of the hetero- 
geneous groups along the Rue du Commerce — 
and you alight at the quay in the midst of busy 
negroes, native shipping clerks, and Jews, all 
concerned with the processes of landing and em- 
barkation. The females are few. They stay 
within doors, for the most part. Here, however, 
strides a gaunt, ungainly negress, bare-footed, 
scarlet-robed, silver bangles around her ankles, 
a silver ring through one wide nostril, and a 
cigarette between her lips, who wields a baton 
betokening some authority, and who actively 
directs a squad of the ebon-hued carriers. In 



6 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

contrast to the shining negro, the dry-skinned, 
dusky Arab : a specimen of the provincial middle- 
class Arab of Egypt, a well-to-do personage, no 
doubt, drives up to the Passport Office in a 
crowded hackney carriage, clambers out to stretch 
his limbs, and chats to his wives from the road- 
way, while the Government penmen prepare his 
documents. He is going to take ship, with his 
two wives and his little boy ; and their extra- 
ordinary luggage for the journey is piled up on 
the coachman's box, s Luffed inside the vehicle, and 
hooked on behind. The ladies wear the usual 
black veil and robes, but the latter are of rich 
silk, whilst the bourra, revealing large and mis- 
chievous dark eyes, permits a glimpse also of 
complexions smooth and tolerably fair. These 
are coquettish wives, though veiled. A handsomely 
embroidered shoe, with an inch of blue silk hose, 
creeps forth for admiration ; and there are jewels 
and gold chains that flash in the sun. The costume 
of the lord and master consists of the tarb&sh ; a 
black frock-coat worn open over a long white 
night-shirt ; and old elastic-side boots, without 
socks or stockings. He smokes his cigarette with 
conscious importance ; his whole air is that of 
a bilious Egyptian 'Arry. His little boy, in the 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 7 

tarb&sh likewise, has been put inside an English 
sailor-suit, that fits him ill. The babel of dialect, 
with English, Italian, Greek, or French the running 
accompaniment, rises and falls in waves. At the 
two post-offices the telegraph forms are in Arabic 
and English ; the forms of receipt for the registered 
letter in Arabic and French. One of the postal 
clerks told me in English, with every outward 
mark of delighted anticipation, that he was 
planning a sojourn in London, as a teacher of 
modern Arabic. " Why not try France ? " I asked 
him, — " it's not so far ; the climate would be less 
of an ordeal for you ; and the French are very 
fond of the Egyptians." He laughed ; and all I 
need give of his response was to the effect that 
fewer French than English would be likely to 
study Arabic, and fewer English than French 
expected, as the matter of course, that their own 
language should be talked abroad. At that very 
moment, the street was echoing with the cries 
from black or swarthy touts and hawkers — " Step 
in and see our photographs ! " " Here's the place, 
— here's the place for curiosities ! " " Buy some 
views of the canal ! This is the best shop in Port 
Said ! " " Walk in, walk in ! Best cigarettes ! " 
" Christmas Cards ! " " Clean your boots ! " 



8 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

Christmas cards appear to rank as seasonable 
articles for the English all the year round at Port 
Sa'fd ; whilst the supply of Arab boot-black boys, 
incessant, irrepressible, and quite out of proportion 
to any conceivable demand, whether at Port Sa'fd, 
or Alexandria, or Cairo, may be regarded as >one 
of the minor marvels in Egyptian political economy. 
We all know those descriptions of Lower Egypt 
which present the land as one where no rain ever 
falls, in summer, where there is no autumn and no 
spring, and where the winter resembles our month 
of April, if not May. The prevalence of the Arab 
boot-black boy might reasonably lead the fugitive 
visitor to doubt all this. He infests the centre of 
the town at Port Sa'fd, and he struggles for you, 
dogs your footsteps patiently murmuring, "No 
clean, you' boots, sir," or beats a tam-tam at a 
distance to let you know he is within hail. A 
figure almost as familiar as that of the barefooted 
little Arab, in his long dark-blue shirt and white 
takia, the brushes and the box slung at his back, 
is that of the Levantine skulker, in European garb, 
who proffers in an undertone, at your elbow, 
certain photographs he vends behind the curtain 
of his bazaar. He proffers photographs, and offers 
dancing-houses. He is an agent of a staple 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 9 

industry. The byway which is his conducts to 
the peculiar ill-fame for which Port Said has been 
notorious. It draws the reckless into "Jibboom 
Street " and similar colonies, and occasionally as 
far as the stench-laden " Arab town " in the out- 
skirts. English ladies, or the friends of English 
ladies, in quest of reading-matter for the remainder 
of their journey, should be careful how they re- 
plenish their stock from the rows of English books 
at even the foremost library. The titles of the 
neatly bound works they glance over may be 
innocent enough, but innocence is not precisely 
what the covers enclose. Sometimes the titles 
alone will enlighten them sufficiently. In either 
case, the works have been produced in Great 
Britain " for exportation ; " and no doubt in quan- 
tities appreciable they find their way back again, 
from places such as Port Said, to the country 
which produced them, and where their open sale 
would at once lead to criminal prosecutions. I 
asked a member of the resident European colony 
whether the influence of the governing British 
might not be exercised with benefit on this subject. 
"Oh, they don't go into pettifogging things like 
that," was the response ; " they take broad lines ; 
they deal with economical and administrative 



io EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

reform. They are managing the whole country 
for its greatest good. What would be the use of 
meddling with a few sellers of photographs and 
books at Port Safd? They are doing the best 
thing for every Egyptian toiler, wherever you find 
him, and the best thing for the world's trade." 

The " wickedest spot on earth " was a descrip- 
tion once applied to Port Safd. I met an English 
resident who had just been reading in a weekly 
periodical, from England, an article headed with 
that dire sentence ; and he was extremely indig- 
nant "Absolutely the most incorrect nonsense 
I ever read," said he ; "I am told that the descrip- 
tion is by . No matter — there is scarcely a 

word of truth in it ! " Perhaps not, at the present 
time. There are, nevertheless, some strange 
persons about: horrible accosting dwarfs from 
goodness knows where — villainous herculean 
caterers for the houses with closed shutters, the 
dens where the weapons are the drug, the loaded 
dice, the woman. The Egyptian policeman, some- 
times tall, weedy, and spindle-shanked, sometimes 
a broad-shouldered, powerful fellow, seems to be 
on excellent terms with every one, and mingles 
with the scum of the bazaars at an easy lounge, 
the most amiable of mortals that ever wore a 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. n 

uniform as the symbol of authority, or carried in 
his belt a sword for somebody's defence. But, 
not to repeat the evidence available upon the prac- 
tical efficiency of the police-force, as at present 
organized, would be an injustice to the men not 
less than to their chiefs. The gradual transfor- 
mation of the system since 1882 has wrought 
wonders. Eye-witnesses of the changes that have 
taken place at Port Said since then state that the 
desperado and ferocious Arabs of the outskirts, 
and beyond, have not escaped the civilizing in- 
fluence of the British occupation, but that they 
have become modified in their general character 
by the maintenance of law and order, as well as 
by the certitude of a larger outlet for the goods 
which they and theirs can bring in. The trade in 
Arab curios, woven stuffs, etc., has steadily grown 
with the security afforded by the altered rigime. 

On no side, however, do we perceive the 
slightest outward and visible sign of a British 
military or official occupation. If the English 
language confronts the eye, and continually assails 
"the ear, the fact must be traced to the crushing 
predominance of British shipping in the Suez 
Canal. Englishmen are at the head of the local 
police, the custom-house, and the coastguard ; but 



12 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

you only hear of them — the casual visitor who 
actually sees one of them must be either privi- 
leged, or Caledonianly persevering. How different 
this would be under a similar ascendency in the 
grasp of certain other European nations, those 
who have lived among such other nationalities can 
readily understand. Perhaps a word of tribute 
may be permitted, here, to the wisdom, if we may 
not say the chivalry, which obtrudes no tokens or 
manifestations of the paramount influence, facile 
as the open assumption of complete authority over 
so mixed a population, demanding a strong and 
just rule, would obviously prove. 

A resident who kindly rendered me much assist- 
ance in the task of forming a practical acquaintance 
with the town was Dr. Josiah Williams, author of 
" Life in the Soudan," a volume of " Adventures 
amongst the Tribes, and Travels in Egypt in 1881 
and 1882," dedicated to Sir Samuel Baker. Dr. 
Williams held the post of surgeon -major in the 
Imperial Ottoman Army during the Russo-Turkish 
war ; he was afterwards medical officer to the 
Beira Railway; and he now combines a private 
practice at Port Sai'd, with the duties of medical 
officer at this point to the large British steamship 
lines. "Only those who remember what the 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 13 

police was in this part of the world before 1882," 
said Dr. Williams, " can appreciate the improve- 
ment in the force since the English came in. We 
have had law and order for years past, now ; and 
a stranger is safer at the present time in Port Said 
than in a good many places one could name in 
England." He added his own testimony to the 
consensus elsewhere that the Egyptian Govern- 
ment employes, at least, are in no danger of for- 
getting the Slough of Despond from which the 
British occupation lifted them. Every native 
knows, now, that when he is employed by the 
Egyptian Government he will be paid. The 
officials know that their pay will be forthcoming 
every month, now, and that they may positively 
reckon upon receiving it on a fixed date. For- 
merly, they never knew when they could get it, or 
whether they could get it at all. 

There is the " old inhabitant," and his " griev- 
ance," even at Port Said, the place which, on 
April 25, 1859, was but a flat sea-shore, "encore 
vierge," as Monsieur L. Huard has phrased it in 
his monograph upon the canal — " encore vierge 
de constructions." M. Huard's pamphlet may be 
purchased at the English stationery establishment 
of Mr. J. Horn, Rue du Commerce ; and it is an 



H EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

engaging little work, not less for the candour with 
which it acknowledges the long line of those, as 
far back as Rameses II., who preceded M. de 
Lesseps with projects for cutting the isthmus, 
than for the tirades of " Oh ! il fallut encore lutter 
contre l'Angleterre, dont les ^missaires," etc. At 
the "'end of 1859, however," writes M. Huard, 
"the machinery begins to attack the soil, ten 
workshops are in activity, and Port Said takes 
birth." Less than forty years elapse, and we have 
"old inhabitants," complaining that the Suez 
Canal should ever have been thrown open to traffic 
through the night. Prior to the adoption of this 
measure, necessitated by the enormous increase 
in the shipping, vessels remained in the port from 
the afternoon, or the evening, until the morning 
or noon next day. Passengers flocked into the 
town, and, as one resident put it, ".£10 would be 
taken where ior. is taken now. At present, the 
vessel will be in the port and out again while 
we are sleeping." The hard times, nevertheless, 
have permitted the construction of a Casino in 
1896. English capital, too, scarcely invests itself 
amid unpromising conditions ; and the new 
Eastern Exchange, a mart or agency for the 
exhibition and distribution of manufacturers' 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 15 

samples, price-lists, and show-cards, combined 
with an hotel and club-house, has been erected 
at Port Said by Messrs. Wills and Company 
(Limited), of London and Liverpool, at a cost of 
over ^80,000. This establishment is not selected 
for mention with any desire to single out one 
undertaking more than another. It deserves 
notice for several reasons. In the first place, the 
building forms the most conspicuous feature at 
the business centre of the town ; in the second, 
its material is so largely iron that its progress 
during construction was watched with a daily 
inquisitiveness by the French who live at Port 
Said — perhaps, also, by some other French, who 
were brought thither to confer ; and, in the third 
place, it was constructed entirely with British 
material and by British workmen. French sus- 
picion saw in this substantial pile a British fortress 
designed to command the entrance to the canal. 
It is not a particularly handsome work, but its 
storage capacity, for supplies to ships calling at 
the port, is prodigious ; its comforts and organiza- 
tion should commend it to all travellers qui se 
respectent ; and at the moment of writing it is the 
sole hotel in the town under English management. 
I had only just re-entered the local English 



16 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

Club, after an inspection of the Exchange, when 
one of the members, a Roumanian, read out from 
the Reuter's telegrams posted on the board a 
summary of a speech by Sir Charles Dilke, in 
England, against the continuance of the British 
occupation. " Why cannot they leave us alone ? " 
exclaimed the Roumanian, whose business, like 
that of many others among the local Greeks, 
Maltese, Italians, French, Syrians, and Bulgarian 
Jews, had sprung up or sprouted out under the 
British regime. " A speech like that, from a man 
who has held office in connection with foreign 
affairs, gets talked about in the Arab broad- 
sheets, and besides being exaggerated by the 
French newspapers, unsettles the native mind. 
It makes the natives fancy that, after all, you are 
not to be taken seriously by them, because, 
possibly, you won't stay.'' It was pointed out to 
the speaker that Sir Charles Dilke based his 
opposition, this time, not upon the interests of 
the inhabitants, but upon considerations of inter- 
national politics concerning Great Britain alone. 
To judge by the response — indeed, the responses 
— there must have been numbers of persons, not 
Sir C. Dilke's fellow-subjects, who would have 
rated him more highly, whether as a strategist, 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 17 

a diplomatist, or a plain Briton, if he could select 
some different reason. 

At the corner of a street somewhat farther into 
the town the Reuter's telegram had been perused 
with unqualified approval, we learnt afterwards. 
At the corner of that street stands the Cercle 
Francais of Port Said, its membership restricted 
jealously to the French. The English Club, on 
the other hand, welcomes to its reading-rooms, 
billiard-rooms, and everything else, all nation- 
alities, without distinction — the French, if they 
like to present themselves, equally with the rest. 



CHAPTER II. 

The absence of direct railway communication 
between Port Sa'fd and Alexandria, the two prin- 
cipal channels of Egyptian trade, is one of the 
things which the visitor from Europe, and espe- 
cially the English visitor, finds extremely difficult 
to reconcile with all his previous impressions of 
industrial developments here, upon British lines. 
Landed at Port Said, the commercial traveller, for 
instance, who has completed his business in that 
town, can get to Alexandria overland only by 
going most of the way to Cairo. Instead of a 
railway trip comparatively short— from four to 
four and a half hours — straight across the Delta, 
he must take the Suez Canal Company's narrow- 
gauge line, parallel with the canal itself, down to 
Ismaiflia, a journey of three hours and a quarter. 
He must wait there for the train up from Suez ; 
proceed by the Cairo zigzag line to Zagazig and 
Benha ; change at Benha, after three hours and 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. ig 

ten minutes in the train ; wait an hour, and then 
pass two hours and three-quarters more upon the 
route back to Alexandria. It might be inferred 
that the country between the last-named place 
and Port Sard presents natural difficulties. That 
is by no means the case. The difficulties may be 
natural, but they reside in Alexandria. Perhaps 
they will be best explained in the words of an 
English business man, directing an important and 
extensive enterprise, launched with British capital, 
at Port Said. 

" Our railway communication has been thus 
restricted," said this gentleman, " merely because 
the effect of our competition is feared at Alex- 
andria. Without asking for a route direct to that 
point, we should be greatly benefited by a railway 
connection with the Damietta line. A line already 
exists from Alexandria to Damietta, and it would 
be perfectly simple to make a railway to Damietta 
from Port Said. But the Egyptian Government 
have large sums invested in the Alexandria 
quays and docks, and they are afraid of diverting 
traffic to this point, for the reason that all port 
dues here go into the coffers of the Canal Com- 
pany. If goods were to be diverted to Port Said 
the government would make nothing out of it in 



20 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

that way." The pale blue domes of the Suez 
Canal Company's headquarters, by the basin of 
the cutting, were visible from the windows of the 
office in which we were talking, and the same 
thought apparently occurred to us simultaneously ; 
for, before I could put the query, my informant 
added, with a gesture in the direction of the 
structure, "They employ no Englishmen except 
a few pilots. They have some Italians, I believe, 
in the administration, and the new chief engineer 
is, I think, a Greek, but you will not discover a 
single place in the staff, from one end to the other, 
filled by an Englishmen. The concern has been 
kept virtually French throughout ; but where you 
do find a post that a Frenchman does not occupy, 
whoever is there it is not an Englishman. No 
doubt it seems extraordinary that, with British 
ships forming so enormous a percentage of the 
total number going through, there should not be 
some local English direction ; yet, such is the 
case, and it is a state of things that comes from 
Paris." " Is there any alteration in the proportion 
of foreign vessels, as compared with British, pass- 
ing through the canal ? " " Foreign vessels are 
creeping on, a little, as the latest returns show ; 
but still the percentage of British shipping is so 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 21 

overwhelmingly high that what difference there 
has been, of late, scarcely counts. The narrow- 
gauge railway, from Port Said to Isma'flia," re- 
sumed the speaker, " is the property of the Suez 
Canal Company. Of course, with that gauge, two 
feet six inches, there can be no shunting of the 
carriages or waggons to the main Egyptian line, 
at Ismai'lia ; although, as a matter of fact, the 
narrow-gauge line is not allowed to receive goods. 
It conveys passengers, and it takes three hours 
and seventeen minutes to cover the forty-two miles. 
There is to be an attempt to run the train faster 
and save forty-five minutes ; but, instead of giving 
us this little line a couple of years ago, the govern- 
ment ought to have sanctioned or required a 
railway on the full gauge, with the ordinary 
facilities for the transit and transfer of goods. By 
the government I mean the Egyptian Government 
The English are the masters, undoubtedly, but 
they have to consider susceptibilities and vested 
interests at Alexandria, and they cannot do every- 
. thing they like, I suppose. What we say is, ' Give 
us a railway here, at Port Said. You will open up 
large tracts of land and increase the revenue, and 
more than recoup yourselves for anything that 
misrht be lost at Alexandria.' We think it a 



22 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

short-sighted policy to prevent the expansion of 
one place, or to starve it, for the sake of another. 
Let each have fair play, and let the result be left 
to the play of natural conditions. It would be all 
the better for the prosperity of the country in 
general." "What cargoes do you load at Port 
Said now ? " " There are no facilities for bringing 
cargoes, except by native boats. At other ports, 
when a ship discharges her cargo she reloads with 
another. We cannot do that here. Ships come 
here from England and discharge over a million 
tons of coal per annum — from Cardiff, principally ; 
but when they have finished discharging, they have 
no cargoes here to reload. They must reload from 
Alexandria, or else put into the Black Sea and 
load with another cargo there — grain, cotton, and 
so forth." "Trade all round would have been 
in a better condition, perhaps, and the develop- 
ment of the country would have been more active 
and effectual, if Mr. Gladstone's Government had 
acted differently in 1 882 ? " " Of course it would ! 
We committed a great blunder in 1882. Mr. 
Gladstone made a muddle of the position. He 
tried to disguise his ignorance of things out here, 
or his weakness as a statesman, by holding forth 
in the vein of Egypt for the Egyptians, not for 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 23 

England; whereas, the Egyptians would have 
been only too glad if we had taken them over 
definitely, and declared a protectorate, as France 
has done with Madagascar. I have spent most of 
my life in this country, and I know the people, 
and they appreciate all the more thoroughly at the 
present time, when they see what we have done 
for them with our hands not free, what we could 
and would have done if we had adopted the 
course which everybody looked for. After Tel- 
el-Kebir, we ought to have taken the country. 
That was what everybody expected we should do, 
and what any other European Power would have 
done. No ; the French missed their opportunity 
at Alexandria, and we missed ours after Tel-el- 
Kebir. And what would happen to Egypt if we 
were to go out would be the break-up of all the 
good work we have done, and terrible anarchy — 
until some European power, more resolute than 
we in the matter, stepped in and spoke plainly. 
We have experience enough elsewhere to shape a 
pretty good estimate of the kind of scope which 
would be conceded to British trade under any 
other foreign influence." 

An alternative route from Port Safd to Alex- 
andria is, of course, by the sea, and Egyptian, 



24 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

Russian, French, Greek, and Italian vessels, plying 
along the Mediterranean, do at present touch at 
the two places. The voyage between Port Sa'fd 
and Alexandria, however, takes eighteen hours. 
If I have dwelt at some length upon this subject 
of the feeble communications, it is because of the 
real disadvantages under which all British capital 
invested at Port Said— the " threshold of Egypt," 
as one member of the English business colony 
defined it — obviously suffers. Capital comes here 
from British pockets, keen initiative and steady 
courage dictate and direct its employment, the 
British pioneer in trade shows that he can adapt 
himself promptly to novel conditions, detecting 
and utilizing openings for the people at home, 
and then, as if the slowness of the home manu- 
facturer, frequently, to change his patterns for 
new markets were not sufficient, the British trader 
here must continue to be shut in artificially by a 
canal company on the one side, and a rival town 
on the other. He is cribb'd, cabin'd, and confined 
under a government to all intents and purposes 
his own, and, in particular, he is very much 
"cribb'd." British trade marks are forged whole- 
sale. An English Church of England missionary, 
whom I met along the Suez Canal towards IsmaJlia, 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 25 

told me that by far the greater portion of the 
hardware goods supplied throughout this region 
and in Syria are of Belgian and German make, 
with British trade marks. This reverend gentle- 
man has a twenty years' knowledge of the 
Egyptian border and the adjoining Turkish pro- 
vinces, he converses fluently in Arabic, and he 
knows the natives well, their wants and their 
ways. " They have the greatest respect throughout 
the East for British workmanship," said he, " and 
if they can only be sure that the article offered 
to them as British is the genuine thing, they will 
pay much more for it. In some cases the goods 
falsely marked ' Sheffield ' are selling at one-third 
of the price for which Sheffield could let them go. 
In consequence of the class of goods thus sold, 
British marks become disparaged." 

One of the passengers to Ismailia was an 
Englishwoman who had qualified as a hospital 
nurse in London, and had come out " to do some 
private nursing at Cairo." She stated that there 
are plenty of places for English nurses at Cairo, 
and that they earn from £2 10s. to £3 per week, 
plus the board and lodging. A friend who had 
preceded her was one of the English governesses 
appointed by the Egyptian Government at ^140 



26 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

per annum to teach the Arab children in the 
few schools. At Ismailia I found a Birmingham 
commercial traveller whose firm were sending to 
Egypt for the first time, and who had done very 
well, he said, for an initial attempt, considering 
that he was relying upon "quality against lower 
prices and inferior stuff." The goods he found in 
possession of the market in his own line were 
" cheap French and Italian products." These had 
apparently satisfied most requirements, but he had 
obtained orders on the strength of his better 
samples, and he felt confident of quadrupling his 
results the next time he came, notwithstanding the 
lower tariffs of his French and Italian competitors. 
He had been well received wherever he had 
gone in Egypt, and he had worked from Port 
Said to Alexandria, from Alexandria to Cairo, 
from Cairo to Ismailia, and thence down to 
Suez. Returning now from Suez to Ismailia, he 
was to pick up an outward bound Australian liner 
at Port Said. He believed the proportion of 
British commercial travellers in Egypt to be 
extremely small. There were a few travellers for 
English cloths, boots, and hats, but the German 
boots and French hats had the pull up to the 
present. The French fancy goods, soap and 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 27 

perfumery, and jewellery houses, also sent tra- 
vellers, and the chief industries of Milan were 
similarly represented. " If, however, we are to look 
to any prospect of evacuation by the British)" he 
went on, " it won't be worth the while of British 
houses to send travellers here." Our friend's line 
was not hardware, but he listened with a good deal 
of attention to what the missionary already quoted 
had to say about the possibilities for hardware 
hereabouts. 

"Your English houses ought to commission 
travellers to expose these frauds," urged the 
reverend gentleman ; " you ought to go through, 
and look at the commodities the people have, and 
when you come to the spurious article say, ' This 
is not English — that is not English. English 
goods could not be sold at the price you have 
paid.' It would open the eyes of the inhabitants 
throughout the region." In answer to a request 
for particulars as to the districts and the nature 
of the trade to be developed, he admitted that 
the market was poor up and down the canal, but 
insisted that a great deal might be done in the 
textiles as well as in hardware, from Port Said. 
" From Port Said you have all the ships that 
sail along the coast of Syria. You have Jaffa, 



28 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

Heifa, and Beyrout as the seaports for Palestine 
and Syria; whilst in Damascus you have the 
emporium for the whole of Hauran." The reverend 
gentleman favoured me with much curious infor- 
mation anent the spies frequenting the Arab cafds ; 
but that is a topic to be reserved for a future 
occasion. When I parted from him, he was 
bound for Port Said, to purchase cartridges for 
his revolver, and take up his passage by ship to 
Palestine. His destination was Jerusalem, " and," 
said he, in the dreamy, absent fashion which 
appeared to have been acquired through long 
residence in the East, "there is no telling what 
may happen. The Turkish provinces are in a 
very disturbed state." 

The Suez Canal Company narrow-gauge railway 
runs parallel with the canal itself, often at a 
distance of a few yards only from the bank. 
More like toys than a serious and practical pro- 
vision for a growing traffic, the little locomotive 
and little carriages occasionally overtake a steam- 
ship, gliding at the required low rate of speed 
through the blue waters of the cutting, and run 
a mild race. Lake Menzaleh stretches along to 
the right hand, past three stations ; what is there 
to the left, on the other side of the canal ? I saw 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 29 

an islet-dotted expanse, fringed with palms, and 
bordered towards the horizon by serrated mountain 
ridges. " Is that a fresh-water lake," I asked the 
Suez Canal Company official, who played at being 
the guard of the train, "or is it an inlet of the 
sea?" "That is a mirage," was the reply. A 
bluff old British pilot, wearing the Suez Canal 
Company badge, corroborated the statement, and, 
difficult though it seemed to believe, in presence 
of so vivid a picture and so natural a perspective, 
their knowledge of the spot was of course not to 
be questioned. " There is no water over there," 
the pilot added ; " that's all desert." A lingering 
suspicion of their good faith with the traveller was 
unavoidable, but, until I should return along the 
same route much later, there could be no oppor- 
tunity of testing their veracity. " That's not any 
scene in Egypt," added the old mariner ; and 
while I was thinking how admirably his portrait 
would have fitted into some such interior as an 
Antwerp harbour-side eating-house, with framed 
inscriptions of Rolpens and Paling gebakken at his 
back, or a ruddy winter parlour in Rotherhithe, 
long pipes and rum upon the table, he resumed 
his part in the discussion next door, with unhesi- 
tating fluency and not the slightest affectation, in 



3o EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

three languages besides his own. The company, 
all local acquaintances, were debating in Arabic, 
Italian, and French. 

Of the two stations referred to above, only the 
first at present bears a name — Ras-el-Ech. The 
other is but a topographical expression, "Kilo- 
metres 24," marking the number of kilometers 
from Port Said. Similarly, the ensuing four halt- 
ing places down to Ismailia, the terminus, are 
"Kilometres 34," 44 (Kantara), 54, and 64 (El 
Ferdans), successively. At the more important 
of these " stations," whether from the standpoint 
of the Suez Ganal Company, or from that of the 
Egyptian coastguard service, the cluster of Arab 
cabins is supplemented by the more substantial 
dwellings and the fenced gardens of Suez Canal 
Company employes or government functionaries. 
Between the stations, and all around, nothing but 
the desert — the dun, irregular, and arid waste that 
seems limitless, although here we are barely upon 
the fringe of it — meets the view when Lake 
Menzaleh, with the lovelier and the mocking vista 
that faced us from the side of Syria, have gradually 
receded. At Kantara the fresh-water canal which 
supplies Port Said branches away to our right, to 
connect with the Damietta arm of the Nile. We 






EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 31 

cross the camel-track from Lower Egypt into 
Syria ; we are almost on a line with El-Arish, the 
frontier town between Egypt and Palestine, on 
the other side of the canal ; and we arrive after 
three hours and a quarter at the point from which 
the British forces, conveyed along the canal, 
marched upon Arabi's encampment in 1882 — 
Isma'ilia. 

Dr. Josiah Williams has compressed into so 
convenient a compass the events of ancient 
history that are recalled by the site now occupied 
by Isma'flia, that I venture to borrow half a dozen 
sentences from the work of his, already referred 
to, published in 1884. "The canal laid out by 
Rameses the Great," wrote Dr. Williams, "was 
between fifty and sixty miles in length, and left 
the Nile at Bubastis, reaching into the neighbour- 
hood of Lake Timsah. Upon it Rameses built 
his two treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses, near 
Ismai'lia, mentioned in the first chapter of Exodus ; 
and there is little doubt that the Israelites, who 
were then in bondage, laboured at these cities and 
the canal three thousand years ago. It is probable 
also that the canal dated far back beyond that 
time. . . . Pharaoh Necho took this canal in hand 
500 or 600 B.C. He undertook to adapt it for 



32 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

navigation, and prolong it to the head of the 
Arabian Gulf. . . . He was so zealous as to perfect 
the formation of a ship canal, connecting the 
Nile with the Red Sea. He carried the great 
work as far as the Bitter Lakes — below Isma'flia, 
and half-way towards Suez — and then abandoned 
it, warned by an oracle to desist, after expending 
the lives of 120,000 fellahs. Herodotus actually 
saw the docks, which, as a part of the plan, he 
had constructed on the Red Sea." Ismailia — so 
named from the Khedive Ismail, whose dilapidated 
palace forms one of the few local " sights " — now 
exists as a residential settlement created by the 
Suez Canal undertaking, and as a sort of stepping- 
stone for travellers who prefer to land from vessels 
midway along the Canal, and to at once proceed 
by the main line from this point to Cairo. The 
settlement radiates from the offices and workshops 
of the company, and all the characteristics of the 
miniature town are strikingly French. The only 
British members of the permanent colony seem 
to be the families of two pilots, plus an extra- 
ordinary old female who has drifted hither no 
one knows how, and who earns a subsistence by 
sewing. Egyptians direct the customs, coast- 
guard, and police ; but the little engine which 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 33 

brings you down the Canal Company's narrow- 
gauge line from Port Said is from the Belfort 
factory of the Compagnie Alsacienne ; the iron- 
work of the lock upon the fresh-water canal 
between the Ismai'lia railway-station and the large 
fertile oasis of the town, has been furnished by 
Gouin et Cie., in France ; and the material for the 
tramway line following the central avenue, and 
running to a terminus on a high bank of the Suez 
Canal itself, seems to have been sought exclusively 
in France. It would doubtless be a waste of time 
for British or other foreign contractors to tender 
to the Suez Canal Company, with better material 
than French firms, at the same or lower rates. 
The religion of the company is France. The 
bright, intelligent, and docile negroes from Berber 
and adjacent tracts, who perform the menial duties 
at the leading hotel and at some other of the best 
establishments, are better at home in phrases of 
French than of English, although the increasing 
numbers of British travellers who stop at Ismailia 
for a few days, between Port Said and Cairo, have 
latterly scattered a counter-crop of rather superior 
Anglo-Saxon. 

Situated upon one bank of the salt lake, 
Timsah, which is intersected by the canal, 

D 



34 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

IsmaYlia presents many attractive natural features. 
Enormous acacias, with branching, serpentine 
trunks, line the broad avenues and meet overhead. 
Figs and prickly pears grow wild. The walks 
are shaded by sycamores, palms, and pines, as 
well as by the ubiquitous acacia, and in the 
gardens the orange, lemon, and banana trees are 
loaded with ripening fruit An hotel which 
languished under Italian management until the 
greater flow of British visitors impelled a well- 
known German caterer to purchase the building 
and grounds, and remodel the whole concern upon 
the best English lines, now easily holds the 
supremacy amongst the local undertakings of the 
kind. From the verandahs of this establishment 
the view embraces, in one direction, the wide 
expanse of blue sea water, bordered by the yellow 
banks of the desert ; in another direction, the 
cutting of the Suez Canal, the course marked in 
the open by buoys, illuminated through the night ; 
and, in another, the variegated houses and vege- 
tation of the town. The disused palace of the 
Khedive stands on the road to the hospital 
founded and maintained by the company, and 
immediately below the hospital site, on the high 
bank of the canal, are the Ismai'lia " station " for 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 35 

the ships passing through, and the ferry for the 
Bedouins and their camels. From November to 
January, and later, a day at Isma'flia is an English 
day of June, amid tropical plants, trees, and 
flowers. 



CHAPTER III. 

Four times a day the primitive railway station at 
Ismai'lia draws to its exits and its entrances the 
turbaned and long-robed idlers of its peaceful 
population. Four times a day a train arrives — 
two from Suez towards Cairo, two from Cairo 
towards Suez. The travellers are the merchants 
of the country, natives or Levantines ; government 
or Suez Canal Company officials ; and Europeans 
bound either for Cairo from Port Said, or for the 
latter place from Cairo. We are in the month 
of December, and the ebon-hued or tawny boys 
and girls, Arabs or negroes, who, clad in the long 
blue shirt or blouse which is their only garment, 
call their wares in Arabic as the throng around 
the station thickens, are offering oranges fresh- 
gathered at Isma'ilia itself, and water in earthen- 
ware jars. A cloudless sky overhead, the sun's 
rays tempered by the faint cool breeze from the 
surface of Lake Timsah ; the palm trees, acacias, 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 37 

flag-leaved bananas, and sycamores bathing in 
deep shadow all the roadways and the paths ; the 
journey out of the desert oasis commences well. 
We quickly leave the outlying fringes of the 
fertile ground, however. The canal between its 
high banks at this region has lessened to a 
thread and vanished ; the purple expanse of Lake 
Timsah, glittering in the flood of sunshine, has 
dwindled to a tinsel speck ; and everything dies 
presently away behind a dreadful unchanging 
horizon, smooth sand and rock in illimitable 
undulations — the desert We are traversing the 
Biblical Land of Goshen, at its northern boundary. 
Birket-el-Timsah, the Arabic name for the salt 
lake at Ismai'lia, signifies " Lake of Crocodiles," and 
it is inferred from this that, at the period at which 
the denomination was bestowed, the waters of the 
Nile flowed as far as the point in question. The 
crocodile has retired southward, and the Nile has 
retired altogether. In spite of closed windows, 
the parching dust penetrates everywhere. The 
sight aches at the glare of white light. Beneath 
this hard blue sky, and across this brown and 
blinding wilderness, the Children of Israel had 
marched out of the land whence Pharaoh " would 
not let them go." According to the contention 



38 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

of the English missionary referred to already, 
and according to his theory of an altered level 
of the Red Sea bed, it was at Ismallia, not at 
Suez, that they crossed. But, to quote the French 
comment upon his demonstration as we were 
examining the working model of the canal, at the 
company's offices — " il y a longtemps que ga s'est 
passd!" A locomotive engine hurries us fast 
towards the first few patches of swamp and 
bulrushes ; and at the earlier halting - points, 
termed stations, the wealthier Bedouins, with their 
camels, are in wait to take the train. The ordinary 
tribesmen, bringing into Egypt their camels to 
sell, and plodding in Indian file by sun or by stars, 
we have overtaken from time to time or descried 
in the far distance ; for them, as for others whom 
we have met, returning into Syria, their merchan- 
dise disposed of, the railway has become an object 
too familiar to be gazed at curiously, an outcome 
perhaps of magic, but a landmark fixed and 
convenient. 

" Tel-el-Kebir ! " The tattered Arab railway 
servants, wearing proudly as their sign of office 
a tin badge strapped to the arm, repeat the cry 
along the carriages — first, second, and third-class — 
" Tel-el-Kebir ! " It is the first considerable 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 39 

settlement at which we have stopped, and just 
before entering the station we have traversed a 
portion of the battle-field which French journalists 
always ridicule, and which, if the graves of soldiers 
ever can be ridiculous, offers to their ridicule its 
simple cemetery in silence. The calls of the 
water-sellers, mostly children, " Moya ! El moya ! " 
(" water ") mingle with those of the sugar-cane 
and orange vendors, with the chatter of the local 
merchants who troop into the compartments, and 
with the neighing of fine Arab horses, tethered 
by the forefeet, and plunging at the aspect of 
the steam-engine and the sound of the steam. 
But we are quitting the trackless wastes of the 
Bedouins for the settled homes of the fellaheen. 
The desert recedes ; the prospect changes to that 
of a luxuriant country, green under the new 
crops, vivid in the pure atmosphere to the far 
horizon, and peaceful under golden sunlight The 
reapers and the tillers of the soil are figures 
garbed like the husbandmen of Hebrew history. 
They make no pauses in their earnest labour as 
the train speeds by ; but when some faces turn 
towards us from the wheat-sown furrows or the 
waving fields of maize and sugar-cane, the expres- 
sion is invariably of contentment, pleasure, hope. 



4o EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

No longer is the lot for each of them the lot that 
every adult, every man and woman of them all, 
can wretchedly remember. Pitiless exactions, 
unrequited interminable toil, drudgery, disease, 
and death the only outlook ever known to them, 
the only tale their fathers handed down — from 
this they have been saved. They have been saved 
from the scourge, and from torture, from the 
Pasha who possessed himself of their whole lives. 
The oxen yoked to the ploughs, the heavily laden 
camels pacing slowly along the roads, the asses 
bearing traders from the village to the market — 
none of these, no beast of burden, need be envied 
by the Egyptian tenant-farmer now. The Pasha 
cannot any longer command that the helpless 
fellah whom he may suspect of hoarding the fruits 
of his own industry shall have his flesh torn with 
red-hot pincers ; he cannot rob the fellah of his 
future harvests, nor can he take his daughters from 
him and sell them in the towns. 

It is not so long since 1882, and the fellah does 
not yet perhaps believe in his good fortune. How 
the change has come to pass he scarcely compre- 
hends. Those of the fellaheen who have been 
able to enrich themselves under the justice and the 
freedom with which the British rule has gradually 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 41 

endowed them, no doubt can connect the new con- 
ditions with the real cause. The poorer among 
them, however, seem to have small notion of the 
process insensibly at work ; in the remoter dis- 
tricts, indeed, it is questionable whether the largest 
peasant cultivator knows much more about the 
origin of the reforms than the poorest of the 
labourers who bend perpetually over the soil. 
They hear that the English are the masters ; but 
they are told that the English are monopolizing 
all the profits from their industry. They are 
better off, they know ; but England " despoils them 
all." The French are their friends, they are 
assured ; and as no human lot is without its 
grievances, they visit all grievances upon the 
English. Everything which in their ameliorated 
circumstances might still be better is, on the other 
hand, promised to them in a beautiful perfection 
if only they could see the English displaced, and 
dispossessed, for the French. Who tells them 
this? Everybody whose corruption, unrestrained 
local power, and unjustifiable gains have suffered 
under the British domination. A permanent 
source of falsehood is the French press in Egypt ; 
and to make doubly sure of a circulation for its 
calumnies, one of the French journals here, 



42 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

although necessarily aware that its articles are 
copied into the Arabic broadsheets, prints its 
attacks and so-called " information " on one of 
its pages in the vernacular. Another of the 
French organs, the Phare <T Alexandrie, which 
persistently misrepresents the attitude of Great 
Britain in regard to the affairs of Turkey, is 
reputed to be subsidized by the Egyptian Govern- 
ment. If public money is to be expended in any 
such form, it should be laid out rather in the 
maintenance of an Arabic journal for dissemi- 
nation of the truth. But while the train runs 
through these bountiful and smiling plains, wooded 
with sycamores and palms, the air soft and 
fragrant, the thought hardly dwells upon the 
meannesses of partisan chagrin and the dishonesty 
of unscrupulous opposition. In this home of his, 
amid his meadows and cotton and cereals, the 
fellah tenant of the thatched mud cabin rouses 
to his task at dawn at length a human being. 
A thrill of pride may well be owned by those 
who can claim kindred with the nation that has 
wrought the miracle ! 

Minet-el-Gamb, the first important centre 
reached by the railway from Ismai'lia, has its 
extensive market and goods depot in proximity 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 43 

to both the station and the main fresh-water canal. 
The latter is crowded with felucca-rigged barges, 
and a commercial activity prevails which prepares 
the traveller for the greater marts of the two 
junctions then following, viz. Zagazig and Benha. 
At Zagazig the station walls exhibited show-cards 
by European firms ; they were the first I had seen 
on the journey through the Delta, and they were 
the advertisements of British houses. They could 
scarcely have conveyed much enlightenment to 
the native mind, inasmuch as the one which con- 
tained an inscription in the vernacular displayed 
the photograph of a complicated engine that 
assuredly " no fellah could understand ; " whilst 
another consisted simply of the firm's name, with 
the announcement, in English, that they manu- 
factured watches. At Benha, where it was neces- 
sary to change for the Alexandria service, with a 
wait of nearly an hour, the same cards were 
supplemented by three others, all British — the 
advertisement of a Scotch whisky, and the framed 
illustrations of agricultural machines, by com- 
peting makers. The largest of the frames enclosed 
five photographs of the appliances at work, a 
description of each being given underneath in 
Arabic. Benha is a centre for the cotton district ; 



44 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

it was the town at which Abbas, who succeeded 
Mohammed Ali in August, 1849, and to whom 
Sa'id succeeded in July, 1854, was strangled "in 
his palace," and its catacombs have furnished the 
Alexandria Museum with valuable Greek and 
Roman antiquities. I shall remember it also as 
the scene of a charge by a railway porter which 
is probably unprecedented. For taking posses- 
sion of two packages which another railway porter 
had already deposited in a place of safety, and 
for transferring them to the private apartment 
of the booking-clerk, he requested a fee of four 
shillings, not from the booking-clerk, who might 
reasonably have disbursed that sum as considera- 
tion, but from the proprietor of the luggage, who 
had turned his back for a diminutive cup of coffee, 
and was engaged in the difficult operation of 
extracting from the buffet-keeper his due amount 
of change, in Egyptian coinage, for a five-franc 
piece. "You give backsheesh me, pour porter 
bagages, four shillings," said the wearer of the 
State railway's badge when traced, and he respect- 
fully urged his claim at intervals of five minutes. 
" He is a foolish man," pronounced the booking- 
clerk on being consulted, out of a traveller's 
curiosity, as to the scale of porters' fees at Benha 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 45 

Junction. Some twenty minutes before the arrival 
of the express for Alexandria the original porter 
returned to the deep window-sill in the buffet, 
which he had selected as the place of safety. An 
explanation and an argument ensued ; each had 
his rights, the second having chatted with the 
traveller about the superiority of express trains 
over " locals." It was a knotty case ; and they 
were assisted in solving it by the wisdom of other 
turbaned and tattered swarthy persons — a dozen 
in all — squatting on the platform in the evident 
companionship ascribed by Shakespeare to Sir 
Thomas Lucy. " It is a familiar beast to man," 
wrote the bard, elsewhere, " and signifieth love." 
Whatever they decided, the actual solution must 
have been prodigiously disappointing. In fact, 
the express had got up to a considerable rate of 
speed before the second of the rival badge-wearers 
could be induced to drop from the carriage on to 
the line. The backsheesh nuisance is, of course, 
an old story. 

On leaving Benha the train for Alexandria 
passes over the branch of the Nile which flows 
down to Damietta. A second railway bridge is 
in course of construction across the river at this 
point, and the smoking factory chimneys which 



46 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

cluster on the other side testify abundantly to the 
expanded industrial movement. It was a surprise 
to note that the locomotive engine had been 
supplied by the Compagnie Franco-Beige, but 
on this subject I must reproduce, later, certain 
peculiar and interesting considerations obtained 
from members of the English business colony at 
Alexandria. Our express pulled up at Tantah, 
famous for its annual fair — a generation ago as 
" unspeakable " as the Turk, and to the present 
day one of the world's wonders — and now a large 
junction with eight platforms. The directions to 
the several lines are painted upon an index-board 
in Arabic and French. It was not until the next 
morning, when being driven to the new museum 
at Alexandria, that I discovered the English 
language in any of the official notices. A dun- 
coloured square building, with a spacious portico, 
stood at the angle of a central street. Two in- 
scriptions figured in plain characters upon its 
walls: " Caracol Attarine" for the Arab — "Head- 
quarters British Garrison " for the European. A 
red-coated, white-helmeted sentry paced the broad 
walk beneath the portico ; his comrades lounged 
at the guard-room windows ; officers grouped at 
the door. This was not my earliest glimpse of 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 47 

the Army of Occupation. I had met two stripling 
corporals in the Place Mohammed AH on the 
previous night. They were looking for the way 
to the Ramleh Station for their return to barracks. 
" Our regiment is the Gloucester, and we only 
came here last week from Malta," explained one 
of them ; " we suppose we shall stay here a twelve- 
month, and then go on to Cairo, to replace the 
regiment that has gone on there from here — the 
Connaught Rangers. Our barracks are in a very 
healthy spot, by the sea. The barracks are close 
to the place where our regiment, the 28th, landed 
in eighteen-ought-two." "Eighteen hundred and 
eighty- two ? " " No ; eighteen-ought-two, when 
we beat the French." " Eighteen-ought-one," cor- 
rected the other corporal, more accurate in his 
dates ; " we were under Abercromby, and we 
drove the French out of Egypt. That's why we've 
got the right to wear the sphinx on our collar," 
and the speaker indicated a white metal badge, 
stamped with a semblance of the mysterious head. 
He said nothing of an incident at Rosetta in 1807, 
the defeat by Mohammed Ali of the British 
expedition despatched under General Fraser to 
" effect a diversion in favour of the Mamelouks as 
a counter-stroke to French policy." Perhaps it 



48 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

was not taught. These two corporals were smart 
and exemplary young fellows. They refused to 
look in at any of the cafis or taverns where games 
were being played, for the reason that the orders 
to them all were to enter no premises at which 
gambling went on ; and as cards, dominoes, or dice 
were in the hands of the consommateurs every- 
where, and they interpreted their orders strictly, 
we parted perforce without drinking to her gracious 
Majesty. 



CHAPTER IV. 

From one extreme to the other, it was less a 
matter of satisfaction to come upon some redcoats, 
fuddled and stupid, a night or two afterwards, 
among a score of privates in the Arab and low- 
class foreign quarter. A worthy British sergeant, 
encountered in the course of a morning constitu- 
tional towards the high ground of the Government 
Hospital, did not believe there was any particular 
harm in the "glass too much," among the lanes 
and dens in question. "A man can take too 
much," said he, "wherever he is, all the world 
over." "But here, don't you think it would be 
better for the credit of the British Occupation, 
in the eyes of the other European residents, if 
the men paid more attention to the matter?" 
" 'Course it would ! But you can't help it The 
men enjoy themselves, and you can't hinder them.' r 
"No danger of affrays ? " " Oh no ! We're on 

E 



So EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

the best o' terms with 'em ! " At the same time 
there was the standpoint of the better-class native, 
and the general European resident, as embodied 
in a comment repeated to me by an acquaintance 
newly arrived here from Cairo. That gentleman 
had been walking in company with a Cairo 
merchant when a party of British soldiers, quarrel- 
ling and apparently intoxicated, drove down the 
street in an open hackney carriage. Blows were 
struck, and one of the men was thrown violently 
out of the vehicle. He was picked up with a 
broken ankle or some such injury, and, evidently 
the worse for liquor, was supported either to the 
hospital or to the barracks. " These are the people 
who are here among us to keep order," commented 
the Cairo resident — not a person of British nation- 
ality. To record such incidents is not pleasant ; 
but, if they occur, a plain tale can scarcely shirk 
them. If they occur, they are a part of the 
full story. The British garrison at Alexandria 
numbered at the time fifteen hundred men, and 
doubtless such incidents were comparatively few. 
But the words written in 1893 by Sir Alfred 
Milner, late Under-Secretary of Finance in Egypt, 
with regard to the British occupation should seem 
to appeal especially to the forces themselves. " It 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 57 

is as the outward and visible sign of the predomi- 
nance of British influence, of the special interest 
taken by Great Britain in the affairs of Egypt," 
wrote Sir Alfred Milner, " that that army is such 
an important element in the present situation. Its 
moral effect is out of all proportion to its actual 
strength. The presence of a single British regi- 
ment lends a weight they would not otherwise 
possess to the counsels of the British Consul- 
General." 

It might be inferred that above the " Head- 
quarters British Garrison," if nowhere else, the 
British ensign is to be seen at Alexandria. I did 
not see the British ensign either there or anywhere 
else until reaching Cairo, and then only at the 
premises of private tradesmen and at the masthead 
of Nile excursion or pleasure-boats. The absolute 
"correctness" of the occupying power, in this 
respect, as in others, can only be impeached by 
direct travesties of the truth. The stars and 
stripes floated from the summit of the American 
Consulate adjacent to the English church, Place 
Mohammed Ali, Alexandria ; but neither upon 
ordinary business structures, nor upon private 
or official residences, nor upon the quarters of 
the British commander at Alexandria, nor at the 



S2 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

headquarters of the garrison itself, was any British 
flag to be perceived. To discern that symbol of a 
foreign nationality, one must look for it where the 
view is confronted by the flags of all nations 
trading to the port, viz. amongst the ships in the 
busy harbour. Where any official establishment 
or site was surmounted by a piece of bunting, it 
was the emblem of the Khedivial authority, the 
crescent and star. I supposed that, as in the 
cities of the Continent where the British colonies 
form their clubs for outdoor recreation, the Union 
Jack might have harmlessly adorned the ground 
of the local cricket, football, and lawn-tennis club. 
It was not so, however. One Saturday afternoon, 
a British visitor to the town had an opportunity to 
witness an Association football match between the 
Alexandria Club, formed of British employes and 
employers here, and the crew of her Majesty's 
gunboat Fearless. The local team, by the way, 
better able, no doubt, to preserve its all-round 
combination by means of regular practice, against 
ships' crews and against the regimental elevens, 
won rather easily. The sunburnt tars were sturdy 
and nimble, but not quite clever enough. But 
nothing in the colours worn by either camp — red 
jerseys for the Alexandria Club, blue and white 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 53 

stripes for the Fearless — nothing in any of the 
usual decorations to a club-house or marquee, 
suggested the British flag. The native population 
of different classes who looked on, and divers of 
whom, the adults as well as the urchins, eagerly 
scrambled for the privilege or the pleasure of 
returning the ball back to the players from a kick 
into touch, might have felt that they would be 
better understood, and better served, if the British 
could but hoist their national emblem here and 
everywhere else in Egypt, over their playground 
and their workground, too. From the position of 
the spectator, on the side near the sea, it was but 
a stone's-throw to the sandy bed where Cleopatra's 
Needle, the obelisk of the Thames Embankment, 
had reposed for ages. 

"What the people who concern themselves at 
all about the country complain of is," remarked 
a twenty years' business resident, in the course of 
a subsequent conversation, "that we don't take 
them over altogether and govern them altogether 
in our own way. They know what our ways are 
now, and these are juster and more honest ways 
than any they had ever seen or heard of. But if 
we won't give them our style of governing men 
right out, they say, 'Let us alone, and let us 



54 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

govern ourselves, and then we shall know where 
we are.' They don't want an administration of 
mixed thievery and honesty ; they want either 
all honesty, which they certainly do associate 
with the British, or all thievery, which they had 
before the British came, and in which everybody 
had a chance by being a liar and a swindler. 
When they talk about their freedom, their khou- 
reah, they mean the license which existed before 
we came here by ourselves. They are fully 
sensible of the increasing benefits they have en- 
joyed during the years of the occupation, but as 
we don't assure them that those benefits are going 
to be permanent, an uneasy feeling hangs about 
many an Egyptian that he may make himself 
obnoxious by being honest, now, under our rule, 
to persons who would immediately possess the 
power to persecute and injure him, if that rule 
were withdrawn. They are for the most part 
variable and contradictory in idea themselves, but 
they can't grasp the situation. They say, ' Here 
you are ; what would have happened to us and to 
the country if you hadn't stepped in, we shudder 
to recall ; you won't go away ; we don't wish you 
to go av/ay — and yet we do, because something 
still better might come, though what we can't 

/ 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 55 

tell ; but you don't declare yourselves ; you seem 
to hide yourselves ; you have never seemed quite 
confident of what you would do in the face of 
another foreign power ; you advised Nubar Pasha 
two different ways on the same incident with the 
French, and you got him to put up with humilia- 
tion ; and we hardly believe that you are so strong 
as we fancied.' Bear in mind that these people 
cannot get along unless they are directed. They 
are willing to serve, because they are the most 
comfortable when there is somebody to think for 
them and guide them. But they are extremely 
quick, and they soon see through you if you don't 
know your own mind, and shilly-shally with them." 
Questioned as to the influence of patriotism upon 
the inhabitants of the different classes, the speaker 
quoted with emphatic confirmation the sentence of 
Sir A. Milner, Under-Secretary for Finance down 
to 1 892 : " There are probably few countries in 
which patriotic sentiment counts for less than it 
does in Egypt." 

The nationality which in this agglomeration of 
so many obtrudes itself here, and unnecessarily 
and persistently emphasizes itself, is the French. 
Prior to the reforms that have rendered the 
Egyptian Post Office as efficient at the present 



56 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

time as any postal service of Europe, most of the 
Powers maintained services of their own. The 
reforms have entirely removed that need, and the 
separate post-offices of the European nationalities 
have disappeared — save one. France obstinately 
holds to her own, and the "Postes Frangaises," 
in a central thoroughfare of Alexandria — in 
Alexandria as in the other large towns of the 
Delta — continue as a disagreeable souvenir of the 
bygone insecurity and confusion. Off the great 
square which retains its original French designa- 
tion, Place Mohammed Ali, a vacant plot of waste 
ground, enclosed, disfigures the whole surroundings. 
This is the site which the French purchased years 
ago for the erection of a new consulate, and which 
they refuse to build upon " until the English eva- 
cuate the country." The square terminates at one 
end with the fine structure of the Stock Exchange, 
and the prevalence of the French language as the 
most general vehicle of business is exemplified in 
the sole name painted across ^he facade in addition 
to the characters in Arabic — " Bourse." But, by 
the same token, it was upon this square that 
the Europeans were first attacked and killed 
by the Arabists in 1882, during the outbreak of 
fanatical massacre and pillage which the English 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 57 

were left by the French to combat and suppress 
alone. The efforts of the French to "permeate, 
permeate, permeate," as Sir Charles Dilke once 
advised the Radicals of an extinct force, are to be 
seen not less in their worthy and honourable 
philanthropic and educational missions here than 
in their unwearied and malignant harassing of 
British authority, and their reckless and angry 
opposition to whatever beneficent changes may 
from time to time be introduced on British initia- 
tive. They are said to be not united in the 
perversity and antagonism by which numbers of 
them, at any rate, shine. British functionaries in 
the Egyptian service have spoken, and still speak, 
most highly of co-operation received from respon- 
sible French colleagues ; but it is not the co- 
operation which strikes the visitor, of no matter 
what nationality, here. And in judging the French 
colony as a whole, the violent, jealous, and un- 
scrupulous as well as the moderate and impartial, 
it should be remembered that they, too, " do not 
know what may happen." They are naturally 
sensitive to weakenings of the national prestige ; 
they know how easily a temperate or favourable 
attitude towards the British would be misrepre- 
sented at home ; they know that the Press in 



58 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

France has no eyes for any but the Opposition 
French journals here. All the French journals in 
Egypt are "Opposition." The French colony 
cannot tell when the British may not, in the phrase 
current among the French and Turks, be " forced 
to redeem their pledges ; " and with any revival of 
French power here it would go hard with those 
who might have been silently registered in the 
meantime as " mauvais Francais." They may feel 
that they must all keep on the look-out, manager 
la c/ihire, etc. Many who can testify to the busi- 
ness and the governmental methods of their own 
country at home are fully aware that they could 
not possibly look for, under any kind of domination 
that could be substituted for the British — under 
even that of their own nationality alone, were such 
a contingency practicable — the freedom from 
interference, and the unobstructed road to com- 
mercial success, which they have enjoyed since 
1882. I know this from conversations with French 
business men themselves. At the same time, 
" what if the English, who have been here since 
1882, and have never told us they would stay, 
were to go ? " 

Every afternoon, the Journal Egyptien arrives at 
Alexandria from Cairo. Underneath the title of 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 59 

the paper, with its motto, " Ni provocation ni 
resignation," appears a reprint of " The Pledges of 
Great Britain," in French ; and this is kept stand- 
ing for every issue. Thus, right across the first 
six columns of the paper, the first thing which 
confronts the reader every day is the following, 
translated into French : " ' The policy of her 
Majesty's Government in regard to Egypt has no 
other object than the prosperity of the country, 
and its full possession of the liberty which it 
obtained by virtue of the successive firmans of the 
Sultan down to, and including, that of 1879. The 
tie which unites Egypt to the Porte is, in our 
conviction, an important safeguard against a foreign 
intervention ; and for that reason our object is to 
maintain that tie such as it exists to-day. Any 
intention on the part of the one Government or 
the other (France and England) to enlarge its 
influence would be sufficient to destroy this useful 
co-operation. The Khedive and his Ministers may 
rest assured that her Majesty's Government does 
not aim at any departure from the line of conduct 
which it has itself hitherto traced.' (Despatch of 
Lord Granville to Sir Edward Malet, November 4, 
1881.) ' As admiral commanding the British fleet 
I think it opportune to repeat to your Highness 



60 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

without delay that the Government of Great 
Britain has no intention of making the conquest 
of Egypt, or of in any way touching the religion 
or the liberties of the Egyptians. Its sole object 
is to protect your Highness and the Egyptian 
people against the rebels.' (Letter of Admiral 
Seymour to the Khedive, July 22, 1882.) 'The 
Governments represented by the undersigned 
pledge themselves, in any arrangement which 
might be made, as the consequence of their con- 
certed action, for the rhglement of the affairs of 
Egypt, to seek no territorial advantage, nor the 
concession of any exclusive privilege, nor any 
commercial advantage, for their subjects, other 
than those which any other nation can equally 
obtain.' (Therapia, July 25, 1882. . . . The Am- 
bassador of England : Dufferin.) ' Her Majesty's 
Government have sent troops into Egypt with 
the sole object of restoring the authority of the 
Khedive.' (Proclamation of General Wolseley, 
August 19, 1882.)" I have not observed in any 
of the daily or weekly publications here, in either 
the English language or the French, anything to 
recall Lord Salisbury's instructions to Sir H. D. 
Wolff, on the latter's return to Constantinople 
in January, 1887: "The Sultan is pressing the 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 61 

Government of Great Britain to name a date for 
the evacuation of Egypt, and in that demand he 
is avowedly encouraged by one, or perhaps two, of 
the European Powers. Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment have every desire to give him satisfaction 
upon this point, but they cannot fix even a distant 
date for the evacuation until they are able to 
make provision for securing beyond that date the 
external and internal peace of Egypt. . . . The 
British Government must retain the right to guard 
and uphold the condition of things which will 
have been brought about by the military action 
and large sacrifices of this country. . . . England, 
if she spontaneously and willingly evacuates the 
country, must retain a treaty right of intervention 
if at any time either internal peace or external 
security should be seriously threatened." The 
failure of the Wolff negotiations at Constantinople, 
due to the effect upon the Sultan of the menaces 
by the French Ambassador, backed up by the 
Ambassador of the Czar, need not be recounted ; 
but, although the negotiations " ended in smoke, 
they were not without certain consequences in 
Egypt, both transitory and permanent." These 
are the words of Sir A. Milner, again placed in 
my hands, as the most succinct account possible, 



62 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

by a prominent member of the English colony 
" As long as they lasted they exercised an un- 
favourable and unsettling effect, as indeed do all 
signs and rumours of change in a country where 
public opinion is so sensitive, so unbalanced, and 
so ill-informed as it is in Egypt But this influence 
was of a passing character. The permanent element 
of disturbance which the Wolff negotiations have 
left behind them in the Nile Valley is the presence 
of the Ottoman High Commissioner. Sir Henry 
Drummond Wolff came on a special and limited 
mission, and went away again. But Mukhtar 
Pasha, though he came on the same mission, has 
remained ever since." The Ottoman High Com- 
missioner has no intelligible attributes in Egypt. 
He is not an ambassador — for a sovereign cannot 
send an ambassador to a portion of his own 
dominions — and the Khedive himself is the repre- 
sentative of the Sultan of Egypt " Neither has 
Mukhtar any part or lot in the administration of 
the country. Technically, he is an anomaly ; in 
practice, he is the nucleus, often the unwilling 
nucleus, of the smouldering agitation of Moslem 
fanaticism, or the intrigues of the old Turkish 
party. His presence is thus a perpetual nuisance, 
which may at any moment become a danger." 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 63 

Sir A. Milner paid a warm tribute to the personal 
character of Mukhtar Pasha, who, whether or not 
he was kept at Cairo with the express aim of 
weakening Egypt and worrying England, disliked 
his errand. The British missionary whose de- 
scription of a Mussulman spy system was referred 
to in a previous chapter, declared the headquarters 
of that system in Egypt to be the premises of the 
Ottoman High Commissioner at Cairo. 

But, reverting to the daily text of the Journal 
Egyptien, which ignores every development since 
1882, I never found any allusion in the local 
journal to the fact that on April 4, 1883, 2600 of 
the European inhabitants of Alexandria and other 
towns, representing almost all the European wealth 
and enterprise of the country, and comprising a 
few of the French, as well as the Greeks, Italians, 
Germans, and Austrians, presented a memorial to 
Lord Dufferin, praying that the British occupation 
might be made permanent. It has been asserted 
that that step sprang directly out of the excep- 
tional feeling of relief which ensued immediately 
upon the panic, and that the tendency among the 
same classes became modified afterwards. Perhaps ; 
but by this time there is not much doubt about 
the tendency among those classes. If you ask at 



64 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

this moment any European resident of commercial 
Alexandria — apart from the French — what he 
thinks of the general bias with respect to the 
continuance of the British occupation, the most 
eloquent response resides in the startled and 
anxious expression with which he puts a counter- 
question. Is there anything fresh — any bad news ? 
Bad news means a symptom of British lukewarm- 
ness or yielding. Does the questioner " know any- 
thing"? Surely there has been nothing fresh in 
the style of Mr. Gladstone, and Mr. Gladstone's 
Foreign Ministers. The French may be excepted ; 
but with regard to the Turk, his interest in Egypt, 
as one of the provinces, has become swallowed up 
by his apprehensions for the safety of the Porte. 
A typical anecdote of the Turk's mingled gran- 
diloquence and timorousness was related to me by 
an Italian merchant just " down from Cairo." The 
narrator, an old resident in Egypt, and the most 
thorough of partisans for the British regime, was 
the guest of a Turkish Pasha at the latter's palace 
in Cairo a few days previously, and, the conver- 
sation turning upon politics, he asked his host and 
another Turkish Pasha of the company why in 
the world the Ottoman High Commissioner should 
be retained here when -he could serve his great 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 65 

master, the Sultan, so much more effectually at 
home. He was retained here to keep a con- 
trolling hand upon England, replied the Pasha, 
solemnly. But the English were not in relations 
with him at all, objected the other ; they esteemed 
him much, but he had no regular official status for 
them to recognize. The commissioner was re- 
tained at Cairo as a reminder to England, repeated 
the Pasha, of his great and powerful master, the 
Sultan. " You, who know the English community 
well," he went on, "tell me what is the English 
feeling with regard to events at Constantinople ? " 
The rest shall be told in the jovial narrator's own 
words. " I said, ' Oh, England knows that the 
Turk has a big brain. England does not mean to 
harm or slight the Turks. You have a big brain. 
All shall be well, England says ! ' You should 
have seen those two Pashas looking at me, with 
their mouths open. I settled the Eastern Ques- 
tion in five minutes. . . . ' I talked the matter over 
with Lord Cromer this afternoon,' I said, ' and it 
is to be all right' ' Inskdlldk ! " they both ejacu- 
lated in a deep voice (' May it be so, God willing ! ') 
—'Inskdlldk!'" 



CHAPTER V. 

" Qui n'entend qu'une clocJie, iientend qu'un sen ! 
Do not imagine that you are liked in this country, 
Messieurs les Anglais. If you want to know what 
they think of you here, do not say that you are 
English." The observation proceeds from one of 
the French gentlemen among the talkers on the 
verandah. There is not a resident amongst the 
company, and every one of the visitors, apart from 
the writer of these lines, is a commercant, a busi- 
ness principal or traveller — every one save, per- 
haps, a single individual, the personage who has 
just spoken. He is a livid, furrowed, black- 
bearded, bilious, furious-looking Southerner ; he 
wears the Tonquin decoration, and he is well 
acquainted with Algiers ; and, from a fair know- 
ledge of the type, I have put him down, since the 
day after his arrival, as a journalist from Lyons 
or Marseilles. Goodness knows what farrago of 
impeachment he can be sending home ! His 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 67 

earliest inquiry of his neighbour at the table d'Mte, 
as soon as he appeared there at the close of a 
rough voyage to Alexandria from Marseilles, was 
dark and ominous. " Y a t-il du mouvement?" 
and he shot a savage inquisitorial glance at the 
other, as though to convince him that he sus- 
pected his sincerity in advance, but that dissimu- 
lation would be futile. The other happened to 
be a German gentleman who comes here periodi- 
cally from England, and whose business negotia- 
tions are entirely on behalf of, and with, British 
manufacturing and commercial houses. " Oh, non," 
replied the Teuton, " L'Egypte est tranquille. 
Wherever you go," he added, after a pause, during 
which the questioner's doubt and disappointment 
were plainly visible, " you will find nothing but 
perfect tranquillity." There had been movement 
on the sea, but there was none here. " Et le 
ckolira?" demanded the new arrival, viciously. 
None of us could deny the cholera ; some of us 
had traversed the districts in which its presence 
was reported ; but the cases were few. Our 
Southerner received a reinforcement at the table 
d'hote in the shape of a compatriot from Lille, 
a manufacturer who had journeyed to Egypt 
to "start a new article," as he explained when 



68 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

colloquial relations had gradually established them- 
selves. But the path was not smooth and easy 
for the new article ; people could not make their 
minds up — they kept you "hanging on" for a 
week ; and the letters which ought to be arriving 
from Lille did not arrive. To what could all this 
be due, but the British occupation ? The British 
occupation causes the movement on the sea, and 
maliciously represses the desired " movement " on 
the land ; it is answerable for the backwardness 
of French residents to encourage the enterprise of 
their fellow-countrymen, and for the negligence 
of the French business people at home who ought 
to be posting to Alexandria their promised letters. 
" Let us hear of some real grievance, if you've got 
any," says one of the Englishmen amongst the 
talkers on the verandah. We elict an abundance 
of rhetoric in response : Mr. Gladstone's " pledges," 
which remained unfulfilled ; a certain vague under- 
standing as to evacuation within three years, 
which could not be identified ; and the inflexible 
determination of France. " Well, then, instead of 
talking about it so much," rejoins the same 
Englishman, "let France act, and turn us out 
at once." " Oho, comme vous y allez, Monsieur 
V Anglais ! " exclaims the bilious Meridional, 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 69 

almost gnashing his teeth at the sight of the 
three or four quiet British officers in uniform who 
lunch and dine at the hotel, at a separate table, 
every day — " We do not deceive ourselves with 
respect to the strength of England ; we do not 
suppose that France alone can drive you out." 
" Nobody else wishes us to go," retorts the 
Briton ; " I travel in a business which takes me 
among all the nationalities here, and I can tell 
you that, so far from wishing us to go, they are 
all anxious that we should remain. Your own 
countrymen, who are here with capital invested 
in the country, are as anxious as the rest. Of 
course, they won't tell you so. Qui rientend qu'une 
cloche, as you said just now, only hears one sound. 
Go among the other nationalities, and inquire for 
yourselves. But, if you want to know what they 
think of France, don't tell them that you are 
French. But let us have some hard facts about 
your grievances." 

Pertinacity and patience extract the following 
three assertions, after which the case completely 
collapses : (1) That the French are pushed out 
of government places by the British ; (2) that 
where they do hold places under the Egyptian 
Government, they are seldom at the heads of 



?o EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

departments ; (3) that the Egyptian authorities 
favour British goods by passing them more quickly 
through the custom-house. To the last point it 
is the German who replies. If the French busi- 
ness men established here cannot take the trouble 
which the English and the others take to get their 
goods promptly through the customs, the only 
people to blame are the French themselves. 
With regard to the first point, the French func- 
tionaries are exceedingly numerous in the Egyp- 
tian Government departments, and it is held 
by the other nationalities that, considering the 
proportions of the several colonies, France is over- 
represented, and by a good deal, in this direction. 
With regard to the second point, which is admitted, 
the fact results logically from the situation, but 
would be less conspicuous if French functionaries 
could be less political. So our French friends are 
informed upon the verandah ; and the utmost 
ingenuity and perseverance cannot draw from 
them anything further in the way of " hard fact." 
What is the use, however, of expending time in 
argument and testimony upon folk whose anger 
and prejudice lead them back invariably to the 
same position, even when their silence acknow- 
ledges it to be untenable ? Not many hours have 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 71 

elapsed before we hear, from the same source, 
once more, " Oh, the English are in possession, 
and they manage that all the commercial advan- 
tages shall go to themselves. It's quite natural." 
The;" advantages" in question — where do they lie, 
the \seeker after information eagerly asks, and 
asks\in vain. 

What has come out, hitherto, of my own most 
careful and laborious inquiries is this, that numbers 
among the British commercial community complain 
of conditions which place them at a distinct dis- 
advantage as compared with competitors belong- 
ing to the other nationalities, whether native or 
foreign. They say that the British authorities, in 
their dread of even appearing, by a stretch of 
excited imagination, to favour their own country- 
men, again and again pass over the latter, to the 
detriment not alone of British industry, but, in 
the long run, of the public interest A recent 
example furnished to me shows that a govern- 
ment department under English direction, inviting 
open tenders, declined the tender of a local English 
house and accepted that of a local Greek, although 
the latter's total exceeded the other by ^150, and 
the Greek, a " man of straw," was obliged to fall 
back upon the English house to execute the 



72 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

contract. Another instance is that of a local 
British firm tendering in " open adjudication " to 
a government department at the rate of £22 per 
ton, as against £27 by a rival contractor, hot 
British nor Egyptian. The tender of £27 per 
ton was accepted ; whereupon the contractor 
applied to the British firm which had offered at 
^22, and entered into a sub-contract with them 
at £26. 

It is also complained that the British function- 
aries do not sufficiently comprehend the extent to 
which official backsheesh, or jobbery, honeycombs 
particular branches of the administrative system, 
and militates against the British contractor. A 
third and characteristic disadvantage suffered 
by the resident British contractor is due to the 
non-pliancy of the manufacturer at home. " Tenders 
were invited for a large quantity of locks and 
keys," a member of the British colony informed 
me, " and I sent in an offer from England, with 
samples. An Arab firm underbid us, but with a 
greatly inferior product. We could have underbid 
the Arab firm with an article exactly similar to 
his ; and, if no better article was wanted, why 
should we not have been content to make it ? I 
wrote to England in that sense, but they would 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 73 

not do anything on the inferior pattern, and so 
the contract went to the natives, and no doubt 
the stuff supplied will answer all their purposes." 
A British agent in a different line of business 
pointed out to me, during a journey on the suburban 
line to Ramleh, that the locomotives in use upon 
the Alexandria and Ramleh Railway Company, a 
British enterprise, were, like those of the Egyptian 
State Railway, of Belgian or Franco- Belgian make. 
An English firm of engineers had tendered at z\ 
per cent, over the Belgian company, and rather 
than abate their figure by l\ per cent, for the sake 
of the footing to be acquired, they had let the 
order go.* 

* Mr. Rennell Rodd, in his report to Lord Cromer on British 
commercial relations with Egypt, %xpresses the opinion that the 
local English firms demand excessive commission-rates, and that 
they consequently suffer in competition with the foreign middle- 
man or broker, who — especially the German — has shown that a 
safe business can be done on a very low commission. "It is a 
matter for serious consideration," observes Mr. Rodd, " whether 
the fact that British trade in Egypt is conducted so largely through 
foreign agents on the one hand, and that English houses in Egypt, 
on the other hand, are letting trade pass out of their hands by their 
unwillingness to do business on a scale of profit with which other 
nations are content, may not be the prelude to a considerable 
falling-off in the total British import to this country. Such a 
symptom has not yet manifested itself to any considerable extent, 
but the fact that British metal imports have not increased in pro- 
portion to the greatly increased demand is, perhaps, a. significant 
warning of danger." This report, forwarded by Lord Cromer, was 



74 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

With reference to the loose and facile obser- 
vation quoted in the first few lines of this chapter, 
to the general effect that the foreign rulers over 
an uncivilized country are " not liked " — although 
the speaker was scarcely justified in the parallel 
which he went on to allege was the case of France 
and Algeria — the attitude of the middle-class rural 
population of Egypt was tersely sketched to me 
by a British subject who has lived in this country 
for thirty years, and who is now the postmaster 
of an up-country agricultural centre. " To begin 
with," he related, "no Egyptian Arab understands 
the sentiment of gratitude, and every Arab is a 
born liar. You dine with them, and they are full 

issued by the British Foreign Office on the 16th of last month 
(April). A study of the tables prepared and commented upon by 
Mr. Rodd points to coals, textiles, and metals or machinery as the 
three categories with which British trade is chiefly concerned in 
Egypt. Whilst a general upward movement continues in the first- 
named of the three, and the British share in the second still pre- 
ponderates, in metals and machinery the British imports have not 
augmented in proportion to the rapid advance in the Egyptian 
demand. German imports, generally, increased from £64,000 in 
1890 to .£230,000 in 1894. Belgian imports, generally, increased 
from £111,000 in 1890 to £374,000 in 1894. On the whole, 
however, Mr. Rodd sums up that " if British houses will only 
devote to the maintenance of their present position an energy and 
enterprise similar to that which is displayed by other nations who 
are now trying to secure a footing in the Egyptian market, there 
need be no cause for anxiety." 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 75 

of compliments about the English. You fancy 
you are surprising a private conversation when 
you catch the words, in a whisper between them, 
' This Englishman is an excellent person ; what 
excellent people the English are ! ' They tell 
you that it is the grandest thing possible for 
the country that the English have displaced the 
French. The French are sons of this, that, and 
the other, and if they were here as the English 
are, they would eat up all the land. The next 
day they are dining with a Frenchman. They 
tell the Frenchman that the English are sons of 
this, that, and the other, and that the country is 
going to the dogs. 'If we could only have the 
French here,' they tell him, ' the country would 
be saved.' The day after that, they dine with one 
of their own people, a sheikh, and then they cry 
out, ' All these Christians are sons of this, that, 
and the other, and it's a bad thing for the land 
of Pharaoh that they ever came in.' " 

One of the leading financiers of contemporary 
Egypt favoured me with an interview on the 
general topic of the British occupation from a 
non-British standpoint " You might describe me 
as ex-president of a foreign Chamber of Com- 
merce," said he ; "I am not Italian ; I am not 



76 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

French ; I am an Austrian, and I am emphatically, 
emphatically, in favour of the British occupation. 
The benefits it has conferred are equal to anything 
that could possibly be produced. They are not 
equal to, but above, any that would be produced 
by any other state of affairs. I insist upon the 
point, because any other occupation, whether by a 
Latin or a Saxon people, whether it were German, 
or, I will add, even Austrian, would be a source of 
permanent and daily conflict between the European 
colony and the occupying army. And I will 
explain why, in my own opinion. The English 
army is peculiarly one that is penetrated with the 
civilian idea. Other armies are armies of soldiers. 
By that I mean professional soldiers ; the English 
army is one of private gentlemen. They have not 
the habit of military ostentation — I'habitude de 
faire sonner le sabre sur le pave" — which irritates 
European colonies in all countries — in all countries 
of the world. As evidence of this, look at what 
passes in Tunis — everywhere, in fact, under a 
Latin or a German occupation. A conquered 
country, on the other hand, will not cede to the 
civilian element alone. Now, the English, to their 
honour I say it, whilst preserving the order which 
has been indispensable for the development of 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 77 

Egypt, have known how to give way to the Element 
civiL lis s'effacent. They do not wound suscepti- 
bilities, and they never come into collision with 
the various colonies. In their social relations 
they are of an amabiliti ' parfaite, and of a discretion 
extraordinaire. So much from the point of view 
of our relations with the occupying army. From 
the point of view of the country itself, it would 
come to absolutely the same thing, so far as 
business is concerned, whether the occupying 
nation were England or any other. The foreign 
occupation amounts to a guarantee of security, 
for the property, or the lives, it may be, of the 
Europeans ; it is a guarantee, also, for the fellah — 
for the inhabitants in general. The natives can 
now be certain that their taxes will be payable at 
regular periods, and that they will be of settled 
and definite sums ; the taxation is no longer 
capricious and arbitrary. At the commencement 
of the year the natives can now make up their 
accounts ; they know what they have to pay. It 
was unfortunately not so in the past. As things 
now are, for the agriculturist, every one has the 
water on his land in his turn ; the rich landlord 
does not crush the small owner by possessing 
himself of all the supplies of water from the 



78 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

canals." After paying a tribute to the manner in 
which the British authorities had extended the 
network of irrigation cuttings, the speaker con- 
tinued: "Unhappily the treaties of commerce 
that have existed are bad. The country cannot 
develop itself, either industrially or agriculturally, 
because of those treaties ; they constitute the sore 
spot in Egypt. The treaties of commerce are not 
to be confounded with the capitulations. The 
Caisse de la Dette seeks to increase the customs 
revenue at the expense of the local resources, so 
that whilst the products of the country pay, in 
general, 9 per cent, on their entry into the towns, 
foreign products pay 7J per cent to the customs 
revenue, but are liberated from the town dues, or 
octroi. Consequently, agriculture in Egypt is at a 
direct disadvantage. Then, the machines, which 
are one of the essential conditions of agriculture, 
must pay duty before they can come in from 
abroad. The Caisse de la Dette tries to augment 
the resources of the creditors as much as possible. 
Well, there is now a considerable surplus. The 
Egyptian Government, under the English, is 
begged to diminish the taxes, and they reply, ' We 
will, but give us the surplus of the economies,' 
whereupon the French Government says, ' We will 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 79 

consent on one condition — that you evacuate the 
country.' There is the financial position ; it's a 
cercle vicieux. The English will not go, and the 
French use their treaty power to aggravate the 
situation. As a result of this histoire, you have a 
serious evil for the country, because there are more 
than two millions sterling, as resources, in the 
Caisse de la Dette, which cannot be touched." A 
member of the great financial syndicate presided 
over by the speaker was present during the inter- 
view, and he interrupted with the correction, 
" Three millions and a quarter sterling now." 
"Very well — there you have a treasure which is 
buried in the earth — a capital which brings nothing, 
but which increases every day, to the detriment of 
the interests of the taxpayer of the country. The 
Caisse de la Dette, representing the bondholders, 
will not employ these economies in valeurs locales, 
which would be another way of aiding industry 
and agriculture, under the pretext that at a 
moment of crisis the valeurs locales cannot be 
sold." 

As a Havas telegram had brought the news 
that Moustapha Kamel, the " leader of the Young 
Egypt party," had been lecturing in Paris " against 
the occupation of Egypt by the English," the 



80 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

opportunity seemed a good one to obtain an 
independent account of Young Egypt. In common 
with many others, no doubt, I had received 
through the post a copy of the lecturer's pamphlet, 
published at Toulouse. Melik was the Kamel 
who attempted to destroy the third pyramid of 
Ghizeh, at about the end of the twelfth century, 
and who desisted in his work of destruction only 
after months of almost fruitless effort ; Moustapha 
would appear to prefer destruction on an infinitely 
vaster scale. 

" The detractors of the British occupation, in 
this country," answered the millionnaire financier, 
" are, in my opinion, a number of Egyptian young 
men (ime quantite de petits jeunes gens Egyptiens) 
who ignore all idea of patriotism, and set up 
opposition merely to get themselves talked about, 
and to procure places and employments which 
their talent would not otherwise permit them to 
hope. Ce sont des demi-savants. They have 
usually been to Europe, where they have acquired 
very little real knowledge, but a good deal of 
presumption, coupled with all the defects of a 
foreign civilization." My informant concluded : 
" If the British occupation were to be replaced by 
any other — even if a European concert were to 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 81 

decide that, with the assent of the people, Egypt 
should become neutralized — a plebiscite in Egypt 
would result, I feel quite sure, in selection of 
Great Britain as the dominating influence." 



CHAPTER VI. 

BETWEEN busy modern Alexandria, the Cottono- 
polis of the Mediterranean, and ancient Masr-el- 
Kahira, the populous but much less markedly 
Levantine capital of Egypt, great indeed is the 
contrast. The whole movement of Alexandria 
seems to tend towards the Stock Exchange and 
the adjacent banks and contractors' offices, and 
every coast along the entire Mediterranean has con- 
tributed to its medley population — two hundred 
thousand odd in all. Among the Europeans, who 
form at least 25 per cent, of the total, the Greeks 
and Italians predominate. It has become not un- 
common at Alexandria to see the ordinary public 
notices of the town in four languages — Arabic, 
French, English, and Italian, — and this is the case 
not merely around the financial and shipping 
centres, but on the local railway line as far out as 
Ramleh. The author of "John Bull sur le Nil," 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 83 

a few years ago, related that an Italian whom he 
encountered at Alexandria had just returned from 
London, whither he had gone to " learn English in 
order to push his business." But French ought to 
suffice, he objected. " Oh no," replied the Italian, 
" no longer. To keep on good terms with the 
London houses you must write to them in their 
own language." " You are in commerce ? " " Yes ; 
my father owns a cotton press, under the style of 
C. H. and Co." " An English firm, no doubt ? " 
" No. My father is Italian, our partner is French, 
and we are financed by Greek bankers." " Then 
why not * Cie.' instead of ' Co.' ? " " To humour 
our English buyers. Indeed, the word compagnie 
is no longer de mode in Egypt In business it is 
England that dominates." 

English and French may be jostling each other 
for supremacy as the official spoken medium, or the 
official and commercial written medium ; but the 
prevalent spoken medium among the business men 
of Alexandria is probably Italian. Most of the 
Scotchmen and Englishmen I met in Egypt hold 
at command an unfinished, rough-and-ready sort 
of French or Italian — sometimes a little of both, if 
less of each — similar to the French and English 
heard from the average German in England. I have 



84 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

not yet come across a single Scotchman or English- 
man, however, resident in this country who did not 
speak Arabic ; from the halting phrases, of course, 
of the comparative tyro, to the fluency of the old 
inhabitant, and the exceptional literary perfection 
of a certain gifted or cultured few. There is one 
case, not to be too particularly specified, but 
recognizable by the majority of his compatriots 
of anything like long residence here, in which an 
Englishman, speaking Arabic better than many 
Arabs themselves, turned Mussulman, married 
wives, made his fortune, and preached in the 
mosques. Still, the Levantine mercantis have 
made the external business life of Alexandria 
much more their own than the British have done. 
It is to Cairo that the phrase " F Orient anglicanise'," 
bestowed upon Alexandria by the author of 
" John Bull sur le Nil," properly belongs. British 
branch houses and agencies crowd so thickly one 
upon another in the principal promenade and 
thoroughfare, the Piccadilly of Cairo — the Esb^kieh 
Gardens replacing the Green Park — that the later 
arrivals, or the less fortunate, have spread intc 
the side avenues and streets, and confront the 
view at advantageous corners for some little 
distance into the outskirts. The English language 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 85 

turns up unexpectedly over and over again ; the 
quick and imitative Arab may not yet have 
mastered it in more than a fragmentary form, but 
in and about Cairo he will understand and use its 
phrases when, often, either French or Italian will 
be as "heathen Greek" to him, and when no 
variety of Greek would be intelligible. The 
regular flux and reflux of the well-to-do British 
and American tourist, the " winterings " here by 
our valetudinarians, the great share of the British 
upper classes in the determination of the fashion- 
able movement, have apparently had most to do 
with the production of this result. A tramway 
is projected for facilitating communication between 
Cairo and the Ghizeh Pyramids ; in the meantime 
the coaches, breaks, private carriages, and other 
vehicles which travel along the main road from 
the banks of the Nile to the border of the Libyan 
Desert are interspersed with British cyclists, of 
whom even the ladies have ceased to dumfounder 
the urban fellaheen, and to puzzle the asses or 
alarm the camels. With a tone of good-breeding 
and refinement substituted for a seaport grossness 
and a too frequent holiday 'Arryism, the " angli- 
canization " of Cairo, now, may be compared in 
extent to that of Boulogne-sur-Mer. And yet it 



S6 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

was here, in the capital, the seat of the govern- 
ment, the kernel of the administrative system, the 
most English of all the towns, that I first discerned 
pronounced misgivings as to the duration of the 
British rule. "Rule," however, is not the word, 
nor is it " influence ; " contact with the British 
official spheres of Cairo has taught me a new 
expression. The expression I have obtained with 
the British official hall-mark, so to put it, is 
" British semi-rule." Before touching upon the 
doubts and disquietudes in question, I propose 
to reproduce some general utterances by British 
engineers, contractors, etc., whose business lies 
directly with the rural population of Egypt, as 
well as with that of the towns. This is evidence 
which belongs less to Cairo than to the townships 
of the districts traversed by the main line. The 
railway from Alexandria to Cairo runs through 
the Behereh province, of which Damanhour, with 
twenty-three thousand inhabitants, is the capital, 
and the Gharbiyeh province, with Tantah, thirty- 
five thousand inhabitants, as its capital ; and the 
excellence of the railway service decidedly deserves 
mention in passing. Besides the goods trains, 
laden with cotton, wheat, maize, rice, sugar, or 
other agricultural produce, and besides the ordinary 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 87 

slow passenger service, three " express " trains — 
so-called, although they make about four stoppages 
on the journey — run daily between Alexandria 
and Cairo, each way, covering the entire distance 
of a hundred and thirty miles in three hours and 
twenty or twenty-five minutes. 

" All the townships are full of Greeks," declared 
one of my informants, not of British origin, but a 
British subject. "The Greeks advance money to 
the fellaheen ; the fellah will often be found to 
have borrowed quite recklessly ; and if he cannot 
pay, the Greek forecloses. That is where these 

Greeks make their money in Egypt ; they 

are just like sponges on the villages. The fellah 
may be either the owner of a small piece of ground 
or the tenant ; if he is the tenant only, the Greek 
won't advance him anything unless he gets the 
guarantee of the sheikh. The sheikh of the 
village of course possesses a good portion of the 
land — he would not be a sheikh unless he were a 
man of some property, — and his guarantee is in- 
dispensable if you want to do business with one of 
the fellahs. No one can give the fellah credit ; if 
you want to conclude any agreement, you go to the 
sheikh, who signs a paper of guarantee. It is the 
village that answers for the fellah you are in treaty 



88 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

with, and the sheikh guarantees, as the head man 
of the community." "Have you found the 
fellaheen quick at profiting by improved methods ? 
Does he buy machinery willingly ? " " Willingly ? 
I will give you an instance that happened only this 
week. I was at Alexandria about a large contract 
with England. An Arab called at our agent's 
office to buy an engine. He had come in from one 
of the villages, and was accompanied by two or 
three hundred other fellahs. They had all come in 
together from the village, about this purchase ; and 
the Arab said he wanted an engine, with boiler, all 
complete, of such and such horse-power, to drive so 
many mills. I gave him a price. It was at a 
figure which left us an extremely small profit ; in 
fact, we should not sell at that figure in England, 
but as competition is so great here, and the Greeks 
will sell an engine for almost no profit, we thought 
we would let it go. After we had been talking to 
him for hours, he said that somebody else offered 
him an engine for ^200 less. Well, it simply 
couldn't be. No engine of the kind could be 
produced at the price. We told him so, and he 
threatened to go to the other people. We answered, 
'AH right,' and he said 'Good-bye,' and went 
away. Next day he came back with all his retinue, 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 89 

and began again, ' What is the price of that engine ? ' 
I replied, ' I told you yesterday.' ' That is too 
much,' he said ; ' give me your lowest figure.' I 
said, ' I have already given you the lowest figure.' 
He offered ^100 less, instead of £200 the day 
before. I told him we could not possibly do it ; 
and then he promised to think it over, and went 
away. I will bet you that that man comes another 
fifty times, and sits there all day long in the office, 
with all his people about him, drinking coffee and 
smoking cigarettes, and talking about this purchase. 
We can't possibly reduce our quotation to him ; 
but in order to save time, I took that man to an 
engine we have in the stores, and explained to him 
the difference between that and the other, cheaper, 
engines. I showed him the construction, the 
fittings, all the extras that were included in our 
price, and everything. But he doesn't care two- 
pence about that. He wants an engine at ^350 — 
that's all he wants. A job like that can go on for 
months and months, and in the end he will buy the 
flimsiest thing he can get. It's the same experience 
all round ; the average fellah will buy the cheapest 
thing he can procure, and that is why there are 
Germans who do some business here. You see, 
the fellah has no needs. He eats coarse maize 



90 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

bread, lives in a mud hut, wears a gown, and never 
has to think about protection from the cold. If he 
makes twenty-five or thirty shillings a week, he 
can support two or three wives well." 

The speaker went on to inveigh against the 
facility with which the fellah can still, as he says, 
rid himself of a wife of whom he has grown tired, 
by complaining to the Kadi that she " does not 
look after his house." The Kadi hears the lady's 
account of the matter, and tries to reconcile the 
spouses ; if he fails, he hands the husband a 
certificate, and the marriage is annulled, the 
divorced party receiving a little pecuniary com- 
pensation. Perhaps, the Kadis hands are not 
quite innocent of backsJieesh. In this way, the 
fellah who cannot afford to maintain more than 
one wife is enabled to put his spouse away from 
him and " take a younger one." The speaker also 
inveighed against the Turkish pashas, both for the 
immorality of their lives and for their selfish and 
unscrupulous hostility to the true welfare of the 
country. He had recently been invited to the 
palace of a pasha for whose mills he was to supply 
machinery, and, while lost in admiration at the 
taste and sumptuousness of the interior, he could 
not forgive his host for possessing four legitimate 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 91 

wives — one of whom had brought him a great deal 
of property — besides a harem thirty-six strong. 
So angry seemed he at this fact, indeed, that if the 
custom of the country had permitted him access to 
the " ladies' household," or even to a view of it, his 
feelings might unluckily have got the better of him. 
I asked my informant whether his firm pushed 
their business by means of show-cards through the 
country districts. He replied in the negative, 
asserting that the country-people did not look at 
show-cards, notwithstanding the fact that the 
illustrations of machines at work might immedi- 
ately concern them, and might be accompanied by 
printed explanations in the vernacular. " How do 
you get orders from them, then ? " " By reputa- 
tion." " And how is a new firm to push its way 
into a reputation ? " " Not by show-cards. By 
agents, who visit the districts, and by being in 
with the sheikhs." " What goods do you supply to 
the fellaheen ? Agricultural implements ? " " No ; 
engines. Formerly, before the development of the 
irrigation by the English, and when the fellaheen 
had few canals for their land, engines and pumps 
were needed in large quantities, in order that the 
water should be brought up to the land. The 
fellaheen used portable and centrifugal pumps for 



92 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

this purpose. Since the English have extended 
the system of the canals, the demand for pumps 
has vastly fallen off. That industry, a British 
industry, has suffered ; but, of course, we know 
that the paramount object must be the prosperity 
of the whole country, and we have nothing to say. 
In another direction, more engines are wanted 
now, because more mills are being put up. Flour- 
mills are being put up all over the country. In 
England the miller grinds the corn and sells it in 
the market. The practice here is for the fellaheen 
to send small quantities of corn to the miller for 
their own use. The wife, for instance, buys a 
bushel of corn, takes it to the mill and has it 
ground, and then goes home and bakes the bread 
with it. You can see fifty or a hundred of them 
every day round these mills, all bringing their little 
quantities of corn with them, to be ground, and 
carried home. Therefore, what we have to supply 
here, is a small kind of mill, not the large ones we 
have at home. Another industry which has ob- 
tained a good hold in Egypt is the cotton ginning 
— that is, taking the cotton seed out of the cotton 
before it is shipped to England. Numbers of big 
factories here, built by the most important com- 
mercial people, have done very well with the cotton 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 93 

ginning, and made a lot of money. They have 
the electric light and everything else, and in some 
places you might think yourself in the district 
round Manchester." 

With reference to the characteristics of the fellah, 
he insisted that the native had an apparently in- 
curable aversion to accuracy of statement. With- 
out being conscious or desirous of misleading, the 
native could not resist the pleasure of varying the 
facts, or the tale, as they were. The trait had 
extended to certain resident Europeans. "As for 
getting the truth out of the fellaheen, you may 
talk to them for twenty years, and you will never 
know where you are. They have no idea of 
ranging things straight for you. They tell lies 
for the sake of telling them." 

The principal in an English engineering firm 
hurriedly summed up the results of the British 
occupation to me as follows : Egyptian Stock at 
a height which it never reached before, and which 
in the past would have seemed fabulous ; and a 
cotton output of which about the same thing can 
be said. "And the English have ruined my busi- 
ness for me," he added, an Englishman himself. 
" I used to supply great numbers of pumps for 
getting the water on to the land ; and the English 



94 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

authorities have developed irrigation to such a 
tune, that the pumps are no longer required." He 
smiled as he spoke of his ruin, and it was clear, 
from the dimensions of his establishment, as from 
the activity prevailing therein, that he had been 
able to adapt himself to the altered circumstances 
tolerably well, and to supply something else. He 
promised to furnish me with information more in 
detail ; but whilst his contracts rushed him off 
towards one part of the country, my own errand 
called me in the opposite direction. 

Another English business-man, adverting to the 
rivalry between Alexandria and Port Said, con- 
sidered the Peninsular and Oriental Company's 
abandonment of the service to the former town to 
be a " point gained by Port Said." His partner 
observed that the withdrawal of any big passenger 
line from Alexandria meant a loss to British 
shipping. It was "said that the service to Alex- 
andria did not pay the Peninsular and Oriental ; 
but look at the position they have held ! People 
who come to Egypt usually want to travel by 
the route Alexandria and Cairo. They have no 
harbour at Port Said ; whereas we have splendid 
docks here." The first speaker resumed : " I am 
inclined to believe that there is some political 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 95 

reason for the preference of Port Said over Alex- 
andria From Mansourah large quantities of goods 
are now shipped down the Nile to Damietta. The 
bulk still goes to Alexandria, but a big amount 
goes away from it now." " Do you know of any 
engineering difficulties that prevent the construction 
of a direct railway between Port Said and Alex- 
andria ? " " It may be that the land is too swampy," 
answered one. " Oh ! but it must be feasible," 
objected another ; " we have got over greater 
difficulties than are to be met with across the 
Delta, there." A third interposed : " The line has 
been applied for several times, but it has been 
refused by the Egyptian Government." " Why ? " 
For all response I won the Egyptian resident's 
compassionate smile. If there is one thing that 
amuses the European resident of long experience, 
it is the guilelessness of the new arrival, who 
expects to find reasons assignable for whatever 
anomalies, hard cases, and backwardnesses he 
may observe under the British semi-rule in Egypt. 
"We think that the British occupation is not 
generally visible enough," then remarked one of 
the company. "The British do not show what 
they could. The natives are not impressed by 
what they see. You seldom find the British 



96 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

soldiers marching through the town, and when 
they do march, it is usually at hours when very 
few people are about The whole thing is done 
most quietly. It is extraordinary how the British 
soldiery are managed. There is apparently nothing 
of them." "With regard to offences against the 
law," observed the first speaker, subsequently, " less 
crime exists now in Egypt than perhaps, in the 
proportion, in any other known country." "Do 
you consider that the local French press has done 
much harm ? " " A great deal. But the greatest 
harm was done by our own Government, in recoil- 
ing from what everybody expected us to do after 
Tel-el-K£bir. All the trouble has come from 
that." 

Inquiries elsewhere on the subject of the Belgian 
locomotives employed on the State railway, led to 
interesting explanations. As on the Alexandria- 
Ramleh local line, so throughout the main system. 
" Nearly every engine I have recently seen on the 
lines up to Beni-Souef," replied a British con- 
tractor, "is of Belgian make. Last year, or the 
year before, tenders were invited on an open ad- 
judication, and the Belgian sent in a price about 
2\ per cent, below the lowest English figure. 
The English replied that they could not budge 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 97 

from their amount, which was the lowest prac- 
ticable, and orders for about ten locomotive 
engines went to the French — we say ' French ' and 
' Belgian ' indifferently, in this matter of the con- 
tracts." The speaker proceeded to describe the 
" French element on the board of direction of the 
railway " in terms which need not be repeated. I 
learnt from another source that a contract for files 
had gone to Belgium simply because, with the 
heartiest intentions in the world, the English firm 
communicated with could not possibly compete 
at the price submitted by Belgians to the railway 
board. The correspondence tells its own story. 
" In reference to your inquiry for files," wrote the 
English merchants and engineers, from London, 
" we can quote you for these as follows : 1490 
dozen files, to the Egyptian Railway Company's 
specification, in best new warranted hand-cut steel 
files, £\o\z net cash, suitably packed and delivered 
c.i.f. Alexandria. The list price of these files 
would be £2850, and our price, therefore, repre- 
sents a discount of 62J per cent., and 2^ per cent. 
off the list For your information, we may say 
that these orders for files were placed in the hands 
of one maker in this country for something like 
ten or twelve years, but for the last two years they 

H 



98 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

have been placed in Germany. From what we 
can gather, there appears to be some jealousy 
existing between the English Administrator and 
his French colleague on the board, which had the 
result of letting the German or Belgian manu- 
facturer step in, and take the orders which would 
otherwise come to this country. There is no 
doubt about it that the German file is neither 
equal in quality, appearance, or finish, to the 
Sheffield-made article. The price we have quoted 
is an extremely low one, and should, we think, 
enable you to secure the business. We are 
sending you eight sample files, stamped with our 
name, so that you can submit them to the authori- 
ties." After the reply from Egypt, with particulars 
as to the price at which Belgians were tendering, 
the firm wrote further: "On looking into the 
price of the files, we find that it practically 
amounts to something like 79 per cent, off the 
Sheffield list, a price at which it is impossible to 
supply the weight of plain crucible steel in the 
commonest quality, to say nothing of forging into 
shape, annealing, cutting, and hardening. It is 
evident, therefore, that Bessemer steel is being 
used, and we think that if you could get a chance 
of comparing in actual work the sample we sent 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 99 

you, with those being supplied from Germany, you 
might perhaps be able to stand a better chance of 
future business. We think it is more than likely 
that one of our files would cut one of the others in 
two." The order went to two different makers in 
Belgium. The second of the above notes was 
accompanied by an estimate respecting an addi- 
tional matter, an "inquiry for plates and bars." 
The statement of prices which the firm appended 
was followed by the remark : " The shipbuilding 
strike on the Clyde is, to a certain extent, respon- 
sible for this." 

" Here was a case where the English really 
wanted to cut out the foreigners," commented my 
informant, " and, on good quality, we could have 
done it." "Are not the people who invite the 
tenders capable of discriminating ? " " They ought 
to be. But, of course, if they are satisfied with the 
stuff they get for cheapness, we can't help it." 
The conversation ended with the final term of so 
many dialogues in Egypt — baekslieesh. " I should 
like to know," remarked an auditor, " how it is that 
divers clerks, Syrians and others, are able, on their 
salaries, to build fine houses. One man who got 
into the Public Works Department, on a small 
salary, has just built a house costing ^4000. Some 



loo EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

of the Syrians ruin everything. They muddle up 
matters to such an extent that the heads of 
departments positively can't tell where they stand. 
Jobbery of all sorts is going on." " But you have 
lived here twenty-five years," I ventured to remind 
him ; " surely you can say that official backsheesh 
is diminishing ? " " It did diminish for a time after 
1882," was the response; "it diminished a good 
deal, naturally, under the English. But the last 
three years have witnessed a serious revival of it" 

A local newspaper, printed in French and Arabic, 
contained, amongst its miscellaneous paragraphs 
on the front page, a complaint that the Alexandria 
Municipality should be ordering an air-pump from 
America. "Always the wretched system, dear to 
nos occupants, of purchasing abroad what can be 
procured in Egypt, the system which prompts 
them, for instance, to buy school tables in London 
under the pretext that the ' wood is drier in 
England ! ' " The probability is that no one ever 
gave any such reason as this, in the terms of the 
statement. Nor was it even certain, I believe, that 
the school tables were coming from any part of 
Great Britain. An English contractor told me 
that the Belgian firms were found to devote so 
much more attention than the English to orders of 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 101 

that class, that they would be dealt with by a 
natural preference. Written to for a quotation, the 
Englishman would as often as not leave the matter 
until the last moment, and then direct his clerk, 
off-hand, to reply with a rough estimate — " Oh, say 
3CW. each." A Belgian firm, on the contrary, would 
go into everything, putting down each item of 
cost, and presenting finally a detailed specification. 
It seems surprising that the Opposition press in 
the French language here should omit from its 
regular stream of misrepresentations the plausible 
falsehood which would picture the British as 
"getting all the best land of the country into 
their hands." Many of the natives in the towns 
may safely be reckoned upon to credit assertions 
much farther from the truth. The priest attached 
to one of the most ancient mosques in Cairo told 
me, as he showed me round, that the English who 
were in Egypt had " come from the King of Con- 
stantinople." Apparently under a mistake as to 
the nationality of his interlocutor, he continued 
that there were too many of the English people 
with red jackets in Egypt ; it was the will of the 
King at Constantinople that they should be in the 
land, but, personally, he disapproved of the fact. 
There were the " people by the Nile bridge, the 



io2 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

people at the Citadel, and the people at Alexan- 
dria;" all the points thus indicated are British 
garrisons. He did not know why the British 
remained in Egypt, nor why they had entered the 
country. " Is the Arab fanatical ? " I asked him. 
" Yes ; perhaps," he answered. The " perhaps," in 
the surroundings, almost illustrated Nubar Pasha's 
definition of eloquence as distinguished from 
loquacity. "Loquacity,'' responded that states- 
man to a French visitor who had pressed him to 
define the two, " is the art of using a great many 
words to say nothing ; eloquence is the inspiration 
of saying a great deal in a nothing." The boy 
who had fastened the slippers over the Christian's 
boots at the entrance to the central court — the 
usual precaution against defilement of the holy 
paving — marched in the Christian's wake, repeating 
verses from the Koran. Another sore-eyed boy, 
crouching in an eastward corner and wagging his 
head unceasingly to and fro, droned off the chap- 
ters of the Koran which he had learnt by rote. 
These would be priests one day, explained my 
white-robed guide. Like himself, they would 
know much of the Koran by heart — and would 
know nothing else, he might have added, to judge 
by a certain promising look, in both, of complete 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 103 

abrutissement. A priest was permitted four wives • 
he himself had four such partners to his austere 
existence; and he concluded — halting at the 
threshold of the inner sanctuary, in order not to 
be seen by the "blind" beggars who waited in 
a cluster for their backsheesh at the porch — by 
soliciting " backsheesh for the priest," and by ac- 
cepting fivepence. Whilst the faithful washed their 
feet, their hands, and their faces in the marble 
fountain at the centre of the court — the ablution 
preparatory to prayer— and whilst earlier arrivals, 
on their knees towards the east, mumbled their 
litany, and with their foreheads thrice touched the 
ground, some notion of the frightful influence 
which might be disposed of by a fanatic ignoramus 
such as this Koran-crammed teacher of men, in- 
evitably stole over the mind. He himself might 
credit and disseminate any absurdity. But who is 
it that is acquiring the "best land in Egypt"? 
Not the British ; and not the Christians. My first 
authority on the point was a practical man of 
business. 

" Jewish syndicates are buying up the best land 
in the country," said he ; " large tracts are already 
in their hands. They have bought up the Helouan 
railway, and they are starting enormous factories. 



104 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

They possess themselves of any good enterprise. 
Most of them are in the Italian consulate ; they 
are not British, but Italian and Levantine Jews. 
Very nearly two-thirds of the commercial money 
used in Egypt at the present time is Jewish. 
Except the Credit Lyonnais, the banks are all con- 
nected with Jews. British capitalists don't come 
here ; or, if they do, they are frightened to death 
of these low people who get hold of the money. 
I have been in the East for more than twenty 
years, and the class of Greeks and low foreigners 
that flourish here are about the lowest and most 
unprincipled lot you can find." "The banks at 
Alexandria will not discount a single bill," put in 
a bystander. "All our bills we have to keep. 
You have to go to the Jews in the Serafia (the 
Seraf is the money-changer). The banks will not 
advance anything." In another quarter I was told 
that the Alexandria bank managers complained 
that the English banks restricted credits, and that, 
as they could not get their bills taken up, business 
suffered considerably. The present phase of the 
Eastern question, however, had no doubt a great 
deal to do with the reluctance and stagnation. 
" Lord Cromer has stated that he cannot recommend 
British capitalists to put their money into Egypt," 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 105 

remarked one of the speakers just quoted ; " he 
has stated it officially, in a report home." This 
impression appeared to be pretty confidently enter- 
tained, but I think I may say, without any fear of 
contradiction from official head-quarters at Cairo, 
that it is erroneous. Lord Cromer would be only 
too glad to see investments of British capital in this 
country.* 

Here are some remarks by a British engineer 
and contractor, who has his workshop in the midst 
of the fellaheen. " My district is one of the richest 
in cotton and sugar-cane," he related, "and the 
natives agree that they never heard of better days. 
They don't find any fault with the Government. 
I am speaking of the fellaheen, not of the pashas." 
"Do they connect their improved condition with 
the British, or don't they know anything about 
it ? " " Oh yes, they know that the people who 



* Mr. Rennell Rodd's report, published by the Foreign Office in 
April, 1896, contains the passage : "A certain want of enterprise 
is, indeed, noticeable as regards the attitude of British trade and 
capital towards Egypt. In spite, for instance, of the considerable 
profit and ready openings for agricultural undertakings in this 
country, where the sugar industry is annually assuming a more 
important development, next to no British capital seems to find its 
way to Egypt, though Englishmen are readily found to engage in 
far more speculative operations in countries affording far less 
guarantees of security." 



106 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

have done the good are the English. At the same 
time, although they acknowledge that they are 
well off just now, the dislike to foreigners con- 
tinues. I have noticed that they judge the French- 
man to be more suave than the Englishman, but 
not so straightforward. The money-lenders in the 
villages are mainly Greeks and Syrians ; in fact, 
that is how the Greeks and Syrians live. There 
would be a good opportunity for the establishment 
of an English bank now, to lend money to the 
fellaheen. You see, every village guarantees its 
own people, and it would be a boon to the fellaheen 
to get advances at a fairly reasonable rate, instead 
of paying from 20 to 30 per cent, as they do now." 
" From 20 to 30 per cent. ? " " Yes ; in this way : 
As the law limits the rate of interest to 9 per 
cent, the Syrians and Greeks lend in one denomi- 
nation of money, and stipulate for recoupment 
in another. Suppose they advance twenty louis ; 
they exact, from the fellah borrower, a receipt for 
twenty sovereigns, so that they draw an interest 
in advance, and charge a further interest on the 
repayment. A State bank would be a grand 
thing for the fellaheen. They need the advances 
for buying their seed." " Do they not save 
money?" "Some of them. Some of them are 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 107 

rich now. In Ismail's time, they used to bury 
their profits in the ground, and borrow money 
at high interest for the next crops. They pre- 
ferred that to the suspicion of being well off, 
because of the rapacity of the pachas. In my 
own experience, the fellah does not often bank 
his money, yet. He either hides it, or buys 
another piece of ground, or marries another wife. 
They must certainly be in a more flourishing con- 
dition of late years, because, although they have 
never had any idea outside squalor, they are 
furnishing their houses better now, and they 
are decorating them more in the European style." 
" The British have spoilt the fellah," broke in a 
listener, whose familiarity with the rural population 
goes back to " Ismail's time ; " " you can't talk to 
the fellah now ; he is getting as ' cheeky ' as 
anything." " They cannot deny the good the 
British have done," resumed the engineer. " I was 
reminding some of them the other day of the 
land near Toukh, which during Ismail's time was 
offered for nothing if the recipient would under- 
take to pay the taxes. It was offered, I know, 
to an Englishman, and he would not accept it. 
At the present day that land is worth £40 or £50 
an acre." A discussion sprang up as to the 



108 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

position of the British engineer in competition 
with the foreigner. " The British officials favour 
foreigners more than they do their own country- 
men," grumbled the oldest resident in the company ; 
and I saw once more that this was the general 
opinion of the British contractor. Profiting by 
the presence of a railway surveyor, I asked for an 
explanation of the fact that no direct line con- 
nected Alexandria and Port Said. "There are 
lakes and canals to be crossed, for one thing," 
was the reply, " but another consideration relates 
to the possible diversion of traffic from Alexandria. 
Port Said would be the better port of the two, 
I should say. Freights can be taken for less from 
Port Said than from Alexandria. With respect 
to the development of the local railways under 
the Occupation, the passenger traffic has trebled, 
right through the country, since 1882. The 
fellaheen have had more money to spend, and the 
fares have been reduced. A railway was projected 
from Alexandria to Selhieh, and was to have been 
carried into Syria ; but we understood that the 
scheme was abandoned partly on the score of 
costliness, and partly on that of injuring the 
interests of Alexandria." On the subject ot the 
money-lenders in the villages, it was repeated to 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 109 

me from a different source that a common arrange- 
ment was for " the Greeks to lend so much in 
pounds sterling, to be paid back in Egyptian 
pounds, which with ordinary interest on the loan 
came to 2J per cent, per month — 30 per cent per 
annum, 30 per cent, being a very moderate rate 
here in Egypt." What was wanted, I heard 
again and again, was a State bank. 

To summarize numerous complaints, it seems 
that the British officials in Cairo are liable to be 
hoodwinked by the natives under them, in their 
various Government departments. The Arab 
engineer, for instance, expects backsheesh, and he 
manages to favour an Arab contractor over a 
British contractor, because the former understands 
that backsheesh is to be given. If the impunity 
with which the practice is maintained should, 
coupled with the stress of competition, tempt a 
British contractor to fight the native with his 
own weapon, viz. bribes, the Government native 
engineer is afraid to accept the backsheesh from 
the British source, because he thinks he will be 
reported in Cairo. The British inspectors attached 
to the different circles of the Irrigation Depart- 
ment must necessarily rely upon their native staff ; 
the latter extort backsheesh from the contractors ; 



no EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

and if the contractors refuse the backslieesh, the 
reports that are made are unfavourable to them. 
If the inspector hears of any such case he " comes 
down sharp, very sharp ; " but sometimes he may 
feel that he is helpless. The system may be too 
widespread, and at the same time almost intan- 
gible. Among these distributors of official back- 
slteesh, the Copts and the Syrians were especially 
denounced. I heard it urged that the " Cairo head- 
officials do not mix with the fellaheen," and that 
" there are two or three rings." When the British 
Government official from India has " gone about 
bullying," he is apt to suppose that he has been 
extremely effectual. 

"When the irrigation engineers turned up here 
from India," commented one aggrieved personage, 
"all the Arabs and native Government officials 
were scared at them ; but during the last five 
or six years the natives have become accustomed 
to them, and they have worked back into the 
routine that was checked, which simply means 
jobbery." Proposing to close this chapter of the 
story from the standpoint of the English busi- 
ness man, I meet at the last moment with fresh 
grievances. The latest order for locomotives 
from the Egyptian State Railway went to the 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. in 

Belgians "because, although their product was 
visibly inferior, they tendered ^30 less per engine 
than Neilson, of Glasgow." " And if it had only 
been £10 less," according to another comment, 
" an English engine would not be ordered against 
a Belgian." " Why ? " " Because the railway 
influence is more or less French. Neilson, of 
Glasgow, was offering, at only £30 more, an engine 
that was infinitely superior." Then there are the 
cases of the Manouth and Ashmoune line, and the 
Behari railway. The contract was given out about 
eighteen months ago, and by this time the work 
should be finished. "As the firm who obtained 
the contract are French, the engineers of the State 
Railway are hobnobbing with them, and no notice 
is being taken of the delay ; whereas, if the firm 
had been English, the officials would have been 
down upon them at once, and their guarantee 
money would have been seized. The truth of the 
matter was that the French firm tendered at a 
figure at which they could not execute the work." 
A confirmation of this concluding statement 
reached me through a different channel. "A 
British contractor here," said my informant, " came 
to our bank about his tender for the Behari rail- 
way. The practice is, when tenders are invited, 



ii2 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

to furnish schedules in which a lump sum is put 
down. The contractor may tender at above or 
below that sum — put it at £60,000. He had nearly 
settled the business, I believe, but when we looked 
at the schedule we saw it could not be done ; and 
the contract went to a French firm." Cannot our 
Government do more for our own people ? — such 
is the reiterated demand. What can they do ? I 
put the question to one of the aggrieved, a Scotch- 
man. "It is not that the individual wants his 
Government to help him," was the response, good- 
humouredly made ; " as M'Pherson of Glasgow 
said, ' A M'Pherson scorns assistance.' But we 
think we are less fairly dealt with than the rest. 
If the British control the government of the 
country, and the Egyptian railway is a State 
railway, the British ought to exert themselves 
sufficiently to prevent these abuses. We are not 
strong enough here." 

An anecdote of backsheesh in another direction 
affords a curious glimpse of the life "in the vil- 
lages." A sheikh who had received certain pay- 
ments, handed the total amount, from £700 to 
£800, to a servant, to be placed in the safe which 
he kept in a wall of his house. The servant dis- 
appeared, and her master, on going to the safe to 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 113 

withdraw a portion of the money, found that the 
latter had disappeared also. The superintendent 
of the local police, a native, expressed serious 
doubts as to the possibility of tracing the thief, 
and doubts more serious still as to the likelihood 
of recovering the funds. He promised, however, 
to devote his best attention to the inquiry. The 
police succeeded in tracing the fugitive, and, as 
the latter's facilities for expenditure had neces- 
sarily been few, in recovering nearly the whole 
sum. When apprised of the arrest, the native 
police superintendent lost no time in informing 
the sheikh, privately, that the search would prove 
a most difficult undertaking, and that the cost 
might " eat up," in some unexplained way, all the 
lost property. Nevertheless, it might be practicable 
for the superintendent to bring matters to a quick 
and satisfactory termination, by means of special 
industry and influence. The sheikh quite under- 
stood. " How much does he require ? " asked the 
sheikh. "He would have well merited £200," 
replied the superintendent. The bargain arranged, 
the sheikh contentedly accepted the missing funds 
minus £200, backsheesh to " him," the native super- 
intendent. " But give the poor soldiers ^25," the 
superintendent then entreated, and £25 further 

I 



ii4 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

passed into his hands as backsheesh to the soldiers. 
An English official went down from Cairo not 
long afterwards, and, in the course of attend- 
ance at the moudirieh, snapped up little significant 
morsels of dialogue which were ostensibly not 
intended for his ear. " Was he not lucky to get 
that £225 ! " observed one of the natives in 
apparently a confidential communication to 
another. " Oh, but the ^25 was for the soldiers," 
remarked the other. "Why, you don't suppose 
that he gave any of it to the soldiers ! " returned 
the first speaker. " He did not give them any- 
thing. He kept it all for himself." The English 
effendi insisted upon an investigation, and the 
£225 had to be refunded to the sheikh. As for 
the defaulting servant, when interrogated before 
the native judge, she argued that the money ought 
properly to belong to herself. She had been 
living in immoral relations with the respected 
sheikh for a considerable period, and he had 
never made her any present, nor paid her any 
wages. "It's a great pity, and very shocking/' 
remarked the native judge subsequently, to the 
person from whom I have the narrative — " but 
some of our people will lead these disgraceful 
lives." "And that old judge," in the words of 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 115 

the narrator, "is one of the worst of them, 
himself." 

The difficulty of pronouncing upon the senti- 
ments of the native population with respect to the 
British semi-rule is continually illustrated in the 
conflicting accounts by experienced British resi- 
dents. The latter would doubtless agree upon 
one point, however, when all is said and done, 
viz., that to look for any definite public opinion 
in Egypt is absurd. There are the hot and cold 
fits of fanaticism, which, as at Tantah during 
the Riaz Pasha crisis, may be worked up into a 
certain effervescence by political agitators ; but, 
outside fanaticism, the people have probably no 
bias, and outside money and their wives no 
interest. They can be induced to admit that 
the country has " never seen better times since 
the days of Pharaoh," and in the next breath 
they will be exclaiming, " Show us where the 
country is one bit the better!" An Englishman 
who goes into the regions up the Nile on archaeo- 
logical missions told me that the habitual utter- 
ances of the Bedouins with whom he treated was 
that they did not care " whether France or England 
had Egypt," but that since the English were there, 
they knew they would be paid for what they sold. 



n6 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

A Scotchman who dwells amongst the fallaheen 
described the latter as fully convinced that the 
English would " never go away now," but as wide 
awake to the desirability of professing discontent 
in order to secure indulgence and extra liberal 
treatment. To take a third view, that of a man 
whose knowledge of the natives is confined to 
the urban population — a man who, not a British 
subject, but an Anglophil trusted at head-quarters 
— "these people believe that England is on the 
eve of her ruin, and that at a puff of wind " — he 
blew into his hand, as if to enforce the idea — 
"she would collapse in pieces and in dust" I 
have had this last impression, by the way, from 
a Gladstonian also, a Yorkshire Gladstonian at 
an Egyptian table dMte, and he seemed to be 
rather gratified at the prospect. 



CHAPTER VII. 

If we turn to the Egyptian newspaper press, we 
find that, whatever may be the conclusion to be 
drawn from the fact, the Opposition journals in 
French and Arabic largely outnumber those which 
appear in support of the British occupation. The 
particular instance of the Journal Egyptien, issued 
daily in French, with the engagements proffered 
by the Gladstone Government of 1882 a stereo- 
typed feature of the front page, has already been 
referred to, and mention has also been made of 
broadsheets in Arabic which reproduce the viru- 
lent attacks and misrepresentations to be found 
in the French organs. With its population of 
about half a million, Cairo probably sees more 
of this newspaper warfare than all the other 
towns of Egypt put together, although the Egyptian 
Gazette, the single newspaper appearing daily in 
the English language, is published at Alexandria. 



u8 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

The contents of the Gazette are printed in French 
as well as in English. It may be regarded as 
the semi-official journal of the Occupation ; and 
besides its authoritative character and position in 
regard to all administrative matters and move- 
ments, it is a sound literary and scholarly pro- 
duction. But to the European non-resident the 
criticism continually occurs that the Egyptian 
Gazette, like the majority of the older British 
residents, seems to assume too easily that the 
extravagances and the misstatements emitted on 
the other side must be notorious, and that, conse- 
quently, they can be disdained. News is not so 
plentiful in Egypt that indefatigable refutations of 
falsehood, and steady repetitions of all disproof 
as often as the calumny turns up again, would 
oust large quantities of interesting matter. There 
are always the people of short memories who need 
reminders, and the other people of less knowledge 
who need education. The Progres, an Anglophil 
daily paper, published in French at Cairo, does 
excellent service by occasionally tackling the 
Opposition journals in quite their own tone. Add 
to the Progres and the Gazette an Arabic broad- 
sheet, the Mokattam, issued at Cairo, and the 
whole of the Egyptian press avowedly in the 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 119 

British interest has been named. The Italian 
and Greek papers are left out of account* 

On the other side, that of distinct opposition, 
the Echo cP Orient, advertising itself as the only 
newspaper in Egypt sold for half a piastre, or a 
penny farthing, has reinforced the French press 
within the last seven months. The Memphis, 
bi-weekly, in French and Arabic, is also a new- 
comer, dating from eight or ten months. One 
piastre, " tariff," or 2.\d., stands as the current 
price of the four-page daily journal in Egypt. 
Among the papers printed in Arabic solely, the 
Akhram, circulating as far as Constantinople in 
the one direction, and Morocco in the other, should 
be regarded as the general Turkish Mussulman 
organ ; whilst the Moaiad heads the native Mussul- 
man cause in Egypt proper.f Translations from 

* The Messaggiere Egiziatio, retorting upon a new prophecy to 
which the Akhram had committed itself, fairly represents the 
prevailing tone in the local Italian and Greek journals. The 
Akhram had announced to its readers that in six months' time — i.e. 
by the autumn of 1896 — the British would be evacuating the 
country. " No, they will not," replied the Messaggiere, — " and 
we may inform our sanguine opponents of the reactionary party 
that several months beyond that period, and, indeed, several years, 
will elapse before this pium desiderium of theirs can be realized." 

t Shortly after the commencement of the advance towards 
Dongola, the Akhram informed its readers that the Mahdi had 
re-appeared in a mosque at Omdurman, and had pronounced an 
anti-British harangue, in the presence of 50,000 Dervishes. This 



120 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

the Arabic sheets are comprised in the contents 
of the journals published in French, as the latter 
are drawn upon for the polemics in the vernacular. 
Thus we read in the Echo d' Orient that the Moaiad 
considers the policy of England in relation to 
Italy as resembling " that which succeeded so well 
with Bismarck, but as stamped with more intelli- 
gence and even less probity." The Moaiad s notion 
of the Italian difficulties in Abyssinia has been 
that they result from British underhand manoeuvres 
directed towards the excitement of the dervishes 
against the very Power which England has "played 
off against France." On the first intelligence of 
President Cleveland's statement with respect to 
Venezuela, the Echo d Orient rejoiced in both 
prose and verse over the humiliation preparing for 
Great Britain. "There remains only one thing 

was too much, even for the Phare <T Alexandrie, which has never 
pretended that the British occupation could be terminated by 
agencies supernatural. The Phare reproved its colleague. For one 
thing, remarked the French journal, dryly, so far as was known, no 
mosque existed at Omdurman capable of containing so large a. 
concourse. Whereupon the Progrh, in the party battling of the 
Egyptian newspaper press, turned the laugh against its French 
contemporary with the grave rebuke that the latter had cast 
profane and public doubt upon the Mahdi's power to miraculously 
expand the cubic space, or, if that were not the easier course, to 
wondrously withdraw the walls for the duration of his sermon, and 
then put them back again. 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 121 

for John Bull to do," pronounced that sapient 
organ, for the delectation of the native press, " and 
that is to accept the delimitation which will be 
fixed by the Washington Commission, and to hold 
his peace. President Cleveland has spoken too 
firmly and too loudly for the least doubt to be 
possible as to the attitude which the great nation 
he represents is ready to adopt." The result 
might not altogether bear out the forecast, but 
that signifies little in the quarter whence it 
proceeds. One fresh opportunity has presented 
itself for persuading Egyptians that the occupying 
power is weak, and can be coerced by merely a 
bold front. "We learn with pleasure," wrote the 
same journal a day or two afterwards, "that Selim 
Bey Hamaoui, editor of El Felah, has just been 
promoted by the Sultan to the grade of pasha 
{inirmiraii). We tender our sincerest congratu- 
lations to our confrere" The Felah is an Arabic 
broadsheet published in Egypt in the Turkish 
interest. Its circulation has latterly diminished 
rather than augmented, and the dignity thus 
conferred, an extremely high one for a native 
editor, is construed here to mean an attempt from 
Constantinople to push the paper among the 
fellaheen by investing it with Imperial sanction. 



122 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

The enlightenment that presides over its fabrica- 
tion may be inferred from the slender detail that 
not many months ago this Hamaoui launched the 
statement among his readers that the English 
were not even Christians in religion, but, at home 
in England, were idolaters ! 

I must not omit mention of one charming 
publication, the Egyptian Herald, which "advocates 
the administrative autonomy of Egypt; and the 
interests of Islam throughout the world." This 
truly unique organ is further described upon its 
front page as " Edited by Hajee Abdullah Browne," 
and "published weekly." Its "weekliness" de- 
pends upon flow of funds from the Ottoman 
Agency at Cairo. The week becomes a month, 
occasionally. Mr. Browne, the editor, is a Dublin 
Irishman who turned Moslem, and rebaptized 
himself, with or without going to Mecca, the 
Pilgrim {Hajee) Abdullah. I regretted extremely 
to have missed him on an occasion arranged for 
an introduction ; his programme for the " solution 
of the Egyptian Question" is that of a great 
inventive genius, and to have heard him upon it, 
over a glass of whisky — there is a good deal of 
Scotch and Irish whisky in Egypt — would have 
been an intellectual ravishment. He solves the 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 123 

Egyptian Question by the conversion of the 
British nation to Islam. He does not know, I 
believe, the actual fountain-head of the funds that 
are supplied to him ; he only knows that he draws 
them from the Agency of the Turkish Govern- 
ment. 

A British official, chief of a department, com- 
menting generally upon the Opposition press, 
informed me that a French citizen had been 
expelled from the country at the instance of his 
Consulate for no reason that could be discovered 
other than that he contributed articles to the 
columns of the pro-British Progrh. If the fact 
appears incredible, most of the facts which relate 
to the " right of extra-territoriality," conveyed by 
the Capitulations, would astonish persons who 
have fancied that " solutions " lie in such phrases 
as " internationalization," or " Egypt for the 
Egyptians." The origin of the separate treaties 
known as the Capitulations, and dating back to 
the fifteenth or sixteenth century, was natural and 
explicable enough ; the object primarily was to 
safeguard the Christians of different nationalities 
who desired to trade in the territories of the 
Porte. France, Italy, England, Germany, Austria, 
Russia, Holland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Sweden, 



124 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

Denmark, Belgium, the United States, and Brazil 
are the Powers possessing these extraordinary 
rights, extended during the lapse of time, rather 
than curtailed, by one nation after another. 
The same British official, speaking of the Young 
Egypt party, said that, while every one could 
understand the desire of the better-educated few 
to exhibit the capacity for self-government which 
they might have acquired under the Occupation, 
and while every excuse must be made for those 
who had begun to look upon every British 
functionary "as a man whose place he would 
like to have," yet these notions of the party's 
unaided competence were limited in Egypt to 
an extremely restricted circle, viz. Young Egypt 
itself. The most active and energetic members 
of the movement were those who were connected 
with the Egyptian native tribunals, and who, 
almost without exception, had received their 
education in France. I produced the text of 
Moustafa Kamel's assertion to a French journal- 
ist, in the course of an interview in Paris. " The 
English have now, by means of their instrument 
at the Education Department, Artin Pasha, com- 
pletely suppressed the Egyptian Mission," com- 
plained Moustafa Kamel, "their object being 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 125 

to finish once for all with the generous country, 
France, cette France ght^reuse, which sends into 
Egypt young men whose only crime is that they 
have been well educated, and that they are 
implacable patriots." The small State educational 
endowment known as the Egyptian Mission 
simply enables a certain number of young men 
to prosecute their studies in a foreign country. 
Hitherto the greater number of them, if not all, 
have been sent to France ; at the present time 
the numbers are more equally distributed over 
France, England, and either Germany or some 
other European country. As for the tale that 
France has been deprived of her share altogether 
— "there is no misrepresentation which these 
people will not foist upon the public," remarked 
my informant. " The injury they work is not so 
much among the Europeans, who do not believe 
them, but among the native population. Their 
articles are reproduced by the native press, and 
although they may be refuted, and the fellaheen 
may not credit them, there is this great harm 
involved, that the people suppose, not without 
reason, that the Arabic papers would never be 
allowed to carry on these attacks against the 
English in such an unscrupulous,, virulent manner, 



126 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

unless they were supported from the very highest 
quarter of the country." 

It may be opportune to recapitulate the main 
lines of the constitution, as framed by Lord 
Dufferin, after the military events of 1882, and 
dating from May in the following year. The 
decree which promulgated the Organic Law of 
Egypt, on May rst, 1883, instituted a Council 
for each province ; a Legislative Council ; a 
General Assembly, and a Council of State. Of 
these bodies the first-named deals with local 
affairs in each province, and may vote extra 
local taxation for works of public utility within 
its district, and its sittings are attended by the 
head-engineer of the moudirieh (chief town). Any 
act or deliberation by a provincial council relating 
to matters not legally pertaining to its attributes 
becomes "null and of no effect," the decision 
being rendered by a special commission created 
under the Organic Law. The vioudir, or governor 
of the province, convenes the council and reports 
to the commission upon any case calling for its 
judgment ; the members of the council have the 
right of appeal from the moudir to the Minister 
of the Interior. Provincial councils vary in the 
number of their members, Gharbiyeh possessing 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 127 

eight, Siout seven, and three others six each, down 
to Fayoum, with three. No one is eligible for 
membership of the provincial council if he is 
under thirty years of age, cannot read and write, 
has not for at least two years previously paid an 
annual land tax of five thousand piastres (the 
piastre equals 2\d.), and has not been inscribed 
upon the electoral roll for at least five years. 
Government officials and soldiers on the active 
list are ineligible ; the term of membership 
extends to six years, a moiety of the councillors 
retiring, however, every three years by ballot ; and 
no person may occupy a seat in more than one of 
these bodies. 

Following the order observed in the constitu- 
tion, we come to the Legislative Council. No 
law, nor any decree regulating public administra- 
tion, can be promulgated without having been 
presented for consideration to the Legislative 
Council. If the Government does not adopt the 
opinion emitted by the Legislative Council, the 
latter is made acquainted with the reasons for 
the decision, but no debate can take place there- 
upon.* The Budget must be submitted to the 

* "The Council of Ministers decided to-day, in reply to the 
native Legislative Council, that discussion about the grant of half 



128 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

Legislative Council on December 1st each year, 
and any opinions or desires to which the several 
heads of expenditure and revenue may give 
rise, are communicated to the Finance Minister. 
Ministers may attend at the sittings of the Legis- 
lative Council, and may be either assisted or 
represented, on special questions, by the chiefs 
of their departments respectively. The Legislative 
Council consists of thirty members, fourteen of 
whom are "permanent," and the remainder 
" dJUguis" The president, one of the fourteen, 
is named directly by the Khedive ; one of the two 
vice-presidents and the twelve other permanent 
members are named by the Khedive, on the pro- 
position of the Council of Ministers. The other 
vice-president and his fifteen elected colleagues 
are returned as follows : one for Cairo, one for the 
combined towns of Alexandria, Damietta, Rosetta, 
Suez, Port Said, Ismai'lia, and El-Arish, and one 
— elected by the Provincial Council — for each of 
the fourteen provinces. A pecuniary allowance 
is paid to the president, both the vice-presidents, 
and all the permanent members. 

a million for the Soudan expedition was beyond their powers, as 
denned by the Organic Law of 1883 " (Cairo correspondent of the 
Times, April 23). 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. '129 

Chapter 6 of the Law declares that no new direct 
tax, real or personal, can be imposed in Egypt 
without having been discussed and voted by the 
General Assembly ; and this body is composed of 
the Ministers, the Legislative Council, and the 
Notables. The Notables number 46, elected by the 
towns and provinces in the proportions due — Cairo, 
4; Alexandria, 3 ; Port Sa'fd and Suez, 1 ; El-Arish 
and Isma'flia, 1 ; Gharbiyeh province, 4 (of which 
one is for the town of Tantah) ; Dakahbeh province, 
3 (of which one is for the town of Mansourah), etc. 
For eligibility as Notable, the property qualifica- 
tion is limited to a yearly payment of 2000 piastres, 
in the shape of either taxation or licence. 

By clause 1 of the second decree, bearing the 
date May 1st, 1883, "all Egyptians, sufets locaux, 
who have completed their twentieth year," and are 
not ineligible on grounds enumerated by a later 
section, " are electors." Clause 5 provided for the 
framing and posting of the electoral lists for the 
toumnes of Cairo, and the kismes of Alexandria, as 
for the towns and villages throughout the rest of 
the country ; and clause 1 1 for the annual revision, 
the sheikhs inscribing the new names in the case 
of the ordinary towns and villages, and the native 
committees in the case of the quarters styled 

K 



130 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

locally, at Cairo and Alexandria, toumnes and 
kisines. Clause 13 created delegate electors, and 
these form the constituency for the provincial 
councils. The illiterate vote was admitted by 
clause 31. By the delegate electors in the towns, 
and the provincial councils in the fourteen 
provinces, the delegate members are returned to 
the Legislative Council. The election of the 
Notables who sit as deputies in the General 
Assembly is by the delegate electors of Cairo, 
Alexandria, and six other towns, and by the 
delegate electors of the 14 moudirieks, the latter 
of these two constituencies sending 35, and the 
former 11. The constitution has worked exceed- 
ingly well in the past, but it leaves obvious loop- 
holes for the action of error, ignorance, and 
intrigue. 

The judicial system embraces numerous juris- 
dictions, apart from all the separate Consular 
Courts. Thanks to one of the Appeal Court 
judges, who very courteously and patiently ex- 
plained the most recent reforms, I am enabled 
to give the following account of the Egyptian 
tribunals as they now exist. In criminal offences, 
the natives are dealt with by the native Courts. 
Civil cases as between natives and Europeans, or 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 131 

between Europeans of different nationalities, are 
dealt with by the mixed Courts ; the criminal 
jurisdiction over European subjects continues to 
reside with the Consular Courts. From the juris- 
diction exercised over natives by the "native 
Courts" — this phrase is used to designate the 
" new " tribunals, and only those — must be ex- 
cluded cases relating to marriage, divorce, and 
inheritance, which are still judged under the 
Koranic law, administered by the Kadis of the old 
native jurisdiction. 

It is in the " new " tribunals that the greatest 
amount of interest has centred during the last few 
years. Their jurisdiction comprehends all civil 
matters between natives except those which still 
pertain to the Kadis administering the old Moslem 
law, and all criminal matters as between natives. 
The new native tribunals include what may be 
termed summary jurisdiction courts, consisting of 
a single judge ; and one of Sir John Scott's im- 
provements a few years ago lay in the distribution 
of these summary courts all over the country, so 
that justice should be brought " near to the people." 
Prior to 1883 they did not exist at all; of recent 
years, under Lord Cromer's care, with Sir John 
Scott as the legal adviser to the Government, they 



132 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

have been enormously developed. The new tri- 
bunals are thus superposed : (i) summary courts ; 
(2) courts of first instance ; (3) courts of appeal. 
The Court of First Instance may also deal with 
larger cases, three or five judges sitting, according 
to the importance of the affair. When the sentence 
may be penal servitude, or hanging, the number of 
the judges must be five; for offences involving a 
lower penalty, the number is three, as in all civil 
matters. From the summary judge, appeal goes 
to the Court of First Instance, but not higher; 
appeal from the Court of First Instance, when the 
case has come originally before that tribunal, goes 
to the Court of Appeal. 

As for the "cases relating to inheritance," 
referred to above as still judged under the old 
Koranic law, the following extract from the columns 
of the Progrte, in March this year, would seem to 
indicate that the Mehkemes, also, must now 
expect some sensible measures of reform : " The 
great suit which is being brought against the heirs 
of the late Ibrahim Pasha, in the Cairo Mehk6me\ 
and in which millions were at stake, has once more 
raised the question whether the reform of justice 
in Egypt can be spoken of as accomplished, so 
long as these special tribunals continue as at 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 133 

present. For all those who know what these 
courts are, for all those who have been able to 
measure the extent of the ignorance of the judges 
composing them, who comprehend their vices of 
procedure, the denials of justice, the spoliations 
and other iniquities which they cloak, it is indubit- 
able that the subject demands attention from the 
Egyptian Government, and merits the fullest 
solicitude on the part of her Britannic Majesty's 
Representative in Egypt ... As one edifying 
example, let us remind our readers of the worthy 
Kadi, in one of our large towns, who last year 
sought to terminate a lawsuit, in his court, by 
carrying off the young girl whose abduction was 
complained of, and by shutting her up in his 
own harem. ... A few score years ago, all the 
civil and commercial suits of the Ottoman Empire 
were judged by the Mehk£mes, according to the 
religious law. As their jurisdiction has already 
been restricted, there is no difficulty of principle 
in the way of a further reform. The jurisdiction 
of the Mehkemes should be limited to questions 
purely spiritual, such as sacrilege, and other 
manquements aux prkeptes de la religion d'Etat." 

Very few capital sentences are passed in Egypt. 
For what is called here " murder simple " the 



134 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

maximum punishment is fifteen years' penal 
servitude ; for " murder with premeditation, or 
aggravating circumstances," the penalty is death 
by hanging. Clause 32, however, of the criminal 
law requires, basing itself on Moslem law, that 
before a prisoner can be condemned to death he 
must either have confessed his guilt, or have been 
found guilty on the evidence of two eye-witnesses. 
The vices of the French procedure, although 
modified by the reforms and simplifications intro- 
duced by Sir J. Scott, are easily discernible here. 
On the one hand, the efforts of the executive to 
obtain a confession, if they have grounds for being 
perfectly sure of the prisoner's guilt, may lead to 
the badgering, delay, and other modes of torture 
conspicuous in France ; whilst, on the other, the 
fact of the confession would usually be considered 
in mitigation when preparing sentence, because, if 
the man had not confessed, condemnation might 
not have been possible. The British have done 
the best they could with the criminal law as they 
found it, but many of its clauses are still identical 
with those of the code in France. A large convict 
prison for long terms, and " lifers," is maintained 
at Tura, a settlement in the desert, but not far 
removed from the banks of the Nile. 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 135 

Afforded an opportunity of attending the weekly 
stance of the Court of First Instance, sitting with 
three judges, I passed a winter forenoon among 
native magistrates, in front of native prisoners, 
native counsel, and public. In the first of the two 
cases tried between ten o'clock and one, three 
prisoners were charged with uttering counterfeit 
coin, well knowing the same to be false. The 
procedure closely resembled that of the French 
courts, but the judges in corresponding French 
tribunals might have taken a salutary lesson in 
strict impartiality of method and demeanour. It 
was a picturesque scene, the brilliant sunshine 
falling upon an almost dazzling medley of robes 
and turbans in blue and scarlet, yellow, white, and 
black, with the crimson tarb&sh in abundance 
nearer the well of the court and the bench. The 
public came and went noiselessly through the 
wide open doors at the extremity ; through 
the open windows were visible the groups of 
gold-bedecked black-veiled women, crouching 
upon the ground beneath the shade of sycamores 
and palms ; whilst the swaying foliage of 
the trees themselves, sharply denned against a 
luminous blue sky, easily assisted fugitive im- 
pressions that we had far departed from the centre 



136 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

of a city with half a million for its population. 
Malodorous the air, however, decidedly at times ; 
and an unkempt, dingy, frowsy crew, with a 
mixture of physiognomical characteristics that 
defied differentiation amongst the dark-skinned 
races, could be descried from time to time lurking 
about the courtyard, or garden, in the sunshine or 
the shadow visible through window and door. The 
Court heard the evidence, heard the Procureur- 
G£neral, heard counsel for the defence, and retired 
to deliberate. They eventually sentenced one of 
the white-bearded Arabs charged with uttering 
false coin, to ' three years' imprisonment, and 
acquitted the other ; the third prisoner, an Arab 
boy, aged twelve, being let off with three months 
on the ground that he had acted without discern- 
ment. As the proceedings took place wholly in 
the vernacular, I was indebted to the Procureur- 
Gdneral for a running translation of their purport. 
This, too, was in French. Nobody about the 
premises spoke any English ; and presently it 
appeared — a fact which seemed stranger — that 
nobody there except a sworn interpreter under- 
stood Turkish. A Turk was brought up, in 
custody, on a charge of having attempted to 
murder an Armenian in Cairo. The interpreter, a 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 137 

negro in a drab overcoat, had to convey to the 
Court that the prisoner said he had only knocked 
the prosecutor down because the latter had 
" insulted the Sultan." He had then to convey to 
the prisoner that the successive witnesses described 
him as producing a revolver from his belt when he 
had knocked the Armenian down, and as having 
been prevented from shooting him by interposition 
alone. With respect to the prosecutor, denying 
that he had insulted the Sultan, all he could state 
to the Court was that the Turk had suddenly 
knocked him down and stamped on him, and that 
he had then lost consciousness. The Turk, a fine 
brawny fellow, clad in a striped shirt, loose blue 
knickerbockers, and shoes, his legs and breast 
bare, swore by "Allah," and accompanied his 
protestations with much persuasive gesture to the 
Court, that he had done no more than he admitted. 
What they took to be his drawing of a revolver 
from his belt, he said, was but the movement of 
clapping his right hand to his heart Yet, if he 
did not understand Arabic, how could he tell that 
the Sultan was being insulted? The witnesses, 
although testifying against their co-religionist in 
favour of a Christian, were too strong for the Turk. 
When the case stood adjourned, his condemnation 



138 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

to a term of imprisonment seemed certain. The 
assault had occurred in an Arab cafe dansant, known 
to be frequented by the friends of two Armenians 
who had not long previously attacked and killed a 
Turk. In briefly discussing the procedure, later, 
the presiding judge laid stress, with evident satis- 
faction and pride, on the fact that these cases were 
tried by them " in Court of First Instance sitting 
as Court of Assize," without a jury. They don no 
special garb for the appearance in their judicial 
character. Every Moslem of the middle and 
upper classes in the towns wears the tarbAsh, 
whether indoors or out-of-doors ; and the wig 
of the judicial Bench in England, equally with 
the square black hat of M. le President and his 
adjoints in France, is replaced here by the tarb&sh. 
The Khedive wears the tarb&sh when driving in 
his open carriage in state ; so does his coachman. 
The sole addition to the ordinary attire of the 
native judges for the discharge of their functions 
in court, consists of a broad crimson sash, passing 
from the right shoulder, and attached on the left 
side, beneath the arm, by a buckle representing the 
Imperial crescent and stars. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE dragoman who acted as my guide to the 
premises of the chief native Opposition journal, the 
Moalad, and who was to interpret in a conver- 
sation with the Sheikh Ali Youssefj its editor and 
proprietor, led me through a labyrinth of teeming 
bazaars, through the ancient Khan-el- Khalil mart 
for silk and velvets, jewellery, Persian rugs and 
carpets, through the narrow lanes where the 
mosque walls and doorways, amid squalor or 
tinsel, astonish with their wealth of intricate deco- 
ration and sculpture, and thence out into the 
Sharia Mohammed Ali, the long line of main 
thoroughfare south-east from the centre of the 
town. On the hill which terminates the street at 
its south-eastern extremity stands El Kala'a, the 
Citadel, built by Saladin with the stones of the 
smaller pyramid at Ghizeh. The domes and 
minarets of the Alabaster Mosque, begun by 
Mohammed Ali in 1824, rise from the interior of 



i4o EGYPX UNDER THE BRITISH. 

the fortified heights, and seem to command all 
Cairo; but beyond and above El Kala'a frowns 
the bare ridge of the Mokattam Mountain. It 
was from the Mokattam that Mohammed Ali, the 
founder of the present dynasty, obtained the 
surrender of the Citadel in 1805 by means of an 
artillery undreamt of in Saladin's age. We cross 
the long thoroughfare, named after that destroyer 
of the Mamelukes ; we halt in front of a gateway 
surmounted by the title of the journal, El Moaiad, 
and the dragoman explains his business to a 
blue-robed Arab messenger basking near a dust- 
laden banana tree. Along Mohammed Ali Street 
trudge the hawkers and the fellaheen, their 
donkeys harnessed to barrows or bearing packs ; 
on well-groomed asses jog the native traders, in 
flowing garb and snowy turban ; British tourists, 
in a party, pursued by the Cairo donkey-boy, who 
prods the animal from behind with a stick, and 
urges it on with his monotonous cry of " Ah-h-h ! " 
trot towards the Citadel for the regulation visit, or 
for the view as far as two groups of pyramids 
across the Nile, into the desert ; private carriages, 
preceded by the hardy sals, or runners, in their 
gold-embroidered vests and loose white muslin 
knickerbockers, roll by from the outskirts ; Arab 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 141 

children play in what with a system of drainage 
would be the gutters ; the Arab mother in the 
arcade, crouching with her infant, derives undis- 
guised pleasure from the chase, and " kill ; " and 
the Arab policeman, tall, neat, and upright, rules 
with urbanity from the middle of the road. Along 
Mohammed Ali Street the British redcoat swings 
on foot to unearth a comrade at the British 
barracks within the Citadel. While we look out 
on the whole strange scene, bathed in bright sun- 
shine, a native compositor is setting Arabic type 
at a case by the wall of the open vestibule itself. 
Presently we are to be received, and I am ushered 
into a sub-editors' room, where three gentlemen 
wearing the tarb&sk, and in European habiliments, 
are rapidly rewriting in Arabic characters, from 
right to left, the matter before them in slips of 
Arabic manuscript. The chief sub-editor parleys ; 
he hears, and he goes to see the sheikh. There is 
a little delay, and then the chief sub-editor returns, 
and escorts us most politely into the presence. 

Unfortunately, the hour has been ill-chosen. 
It would also be un-Oriental to despatch business 
with Western celerity. Perhaps the objects of 
the visit should need serious deliberation, likewise ; 
an ostensibly innocent call from the representative 



142 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

of any inquisitive classes in far Belad-el-Inglis, 
the country of the English, may conceal some 
sinister design, some hostile plot. The Sheikh 
Ali Youssef motions his visitor to a seat upon the 
sofa at his right hand, orders coffee, and listens 
with gravity to an exposition of the visitor's wish. 
He is of swart complexion, with brown expressive 
eyes, short, dark, curling moustache and beard, 
and agreeable features. His manner is suave and 
dignified, the voice is soft and measured, the 
gestures are few. Attired in a sober olive-green 
robe, open from the throat, and showing a striped 
silk vest of neutral colour that matches with the 
silken under-sleeves, Ali Youssef, in his white 
turban, looks, although a comparatively young 
sheikh, every inch a sheikh. He thinks it would 
be better if we called again. The next day would 
be better — not half-past ten in the morning, but 
half-past three or four in the afternoon. The 
compliments that pass and are reciprocated baffle 
description in cold blood. One rises indeed to 
all such efforts, but they are trying to the British 
modesty, and they constitute a strain upon the 
imaginative resource. We accept our tiny cup of 
the sheikh's delicate coffee ; we smoke one of the 
sheikh's excellent cigarettes ; and we arrange for 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 143 

the next day at four. A member of the staff 
comes in with a proof of that day's leader in Arabic, 
and reads it aloud for the sheikh's approbation. 
It becomes an impressive process, but apparently 
all goes well. We take our leave. 

For the adjourned interview the services of the 
dragoman proved unnecessary. I found that the 
sheikh had enlisted the co-operation of a gentle- 
man who edited the bi-weekly Memphis — the 
Opposition journal published in the two Oppo- 
sition languages — and who spoke both French and 
Arabic They explained that the Memphis was 
printed at the Moaiad premises, and after a repe- 
tition of courtesies and a degustation anew of the 
Moaiad coffee, we entered upon the question of the 
day. The editorial retreat was a spacious and 
lofty apartment, comfortable, but without vain 
luxury. A bookcase stood against the wall, an 
Arabic calendar faced the window, and a crimson 
divan opposite the sofa between the door and the 
editor's table received us at our ease. The drago- 
man had retraced his steps, disappointed, to the 
hotel, there to lie in wait for my return and solicit 
backsheesh, in addition to his fee, on the ground 
of " opportunities lost " — that admitted source of 
income, for all classes alike, in the preposterous 



144 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

days of IsmaiL The later hour of the appoint- 
ment, by the way, had permitted a longer stay 
within doors at the hotel, where a pair of 
highly respectable Hindoo jugglers and snake- 
charmers had given an exhibition with the matt' 
gouste, the Indian cobra, etc., on the gaudy carpets 
of the entrance-halL They themselves had been 
preceded, as it happened, by a couple of Arabs, 
who had performed with the grey African cobra, 
and an almost human monkey, in the full flood of 
the sunshine on the pavement before the hotel. 

"The Sheikh Ali Youssef says," replied the 
editor of the Memphis, having translated to his 
colleague an opening query, and having heard the 
response, " that the programme of El Moaiad is 
the programme of any journal which claims to be 
the organ of the interests of the country and to 
defend its independence. It approves the actions 
of the Government, when those actions are in 
conformity with the interests of the country, and 
it opposes une resistance, une resistance" — the 
interpreter hesitated for a word to render the 
sheikh's epithet in the vernacular — " terrible, enfin, 
when it perceives that those are contrary to the 
interests of the country. But, in either case, he 
preserves a proper moderation of language." 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 145 

" Does it not, in judging of the interests of the 
country, habitually agree with France ? " 

"The journal is altogether local — local to Egypt. 
It is a journal for our nation. Egypt is a nation 
which must act for itself, and must be free from 
foreign intervention in the administration of the 
country. If the reader should consider that the 
journal opposes its resistance over-much to 
England, it is because the English are those who 
have put their fingers in the affairs of Egypt." 

" So that the Sheikh Ali Youssef and the Moaiad 
would be equally hostile to any other foreign 
intervention ? " 

" Emphatically hostile. There would be no 
difference. The intervention being foreign, the 
journal has to safeguard the interests of the 
country." 

Here the sheikh interposed, and thus he 
spoke : " It is not only the journal that would 
be hostile. Every native of Egypt would observe 
the same attitude as the Moaiad as long as the 
interest of the country requires that the foreign 
intervention should be removed" — dvitee ibignie, 
supprimte, were the translator's successive expres- 
sions for the concluding word. " If the Egyptians 
were to lose all hope of independence," added Ali 

L 



146 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

Youssef, " if they saw that it was hopeless to think 
of recovering their independence, and if they had 
to choose between two influences, two protectors, 
the French or the English, my opinion is" — the 
guarded avowal seemed doubly significant by 
reason of its spontaneity — " that they would^prefer 
the English." A pause ensued, and then the 
speaker resumed, with a certain vivaciousness, 
" That is on the hypothesis solely that all hope 
should be lost." 

" Does the sheikh believe that the action of 
France has up to the present been beneficial to 
the country? How can he think so, with the 
knowledge of the veto placed by the French upon 
the utilization of the great reserve funds ? " 

" The position of France ought to be considered 
in connection with the evil which it is sought to 
remove, viz. the foreign occupation. If, however, 
it is considered in itself, apart from that matter, 
of course it is an opposition that does harm. In 
presence of the occupation, which is the foremost 
misfortune of all, the opposition by France appears 
in a softened light, especially when it is known 
to be aimed at the removal of the occupation." 

"Under these circumstances, you regard it as 
an excusable weapon for yourselves ? " 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 147 

The sheikh reflected. Then said he, " A little 
application of this idea may be seen in what 
happens sometimes to a man who is eating. The 
morsel which the man endeavours to swallow 
may stop in the throat, and the man may desire 
that another person should come by and strike 
him between the two shoulders. If he is struck 
between the two shoulders, he may either manage 
to swallow the bread or the meat, or he may 
reject it completely, and he is willing to support 
the blow for the sake of the relief, one way or 
the other. In itself, were the bread or the meat 
not so arrested in the throat, the blow would be 
insupportable." 

" You grasp the sheikh's illustration ? " queried 
the interpreter, as Ali Youssef gazed at us both 
somewhat anxiously. Satisfaction having been 
afforded upon that point, the sheikh pursued, " The 
conduct of France in not authorizing an employment 
of the reserve is, in itself, considered from a point of 
view quite independent and absolute, very hurtful 
to the country. But, considered as an obstacle con- 
fronting the occupation, it is deemed by the country 
to be a little misfortune against a big one." 

"Does the sheikh differ from the opinion that 
the British occupation has done good ? " 



148 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

" Whatever may be the good things that have 
been brought by the fact of the occupation, they 
are as nothing when compared with its ultimate 
object, which is to arrive at a destruction of the 
political life of the country. Before these last 
years, all Egyptians were able to look with a 
satisfied eye upon reforms accompanying the 
British occupation of Egypt, because they always 
had the encouragement that the English would 
one day keep their promise. But since three or 
four years, the English having shown, or perhaps 
having declared, that they will not evacuate the 
country, those reforms are not esteemed by the 
Egyptians. During the last three or four years 
the English have created, and forged to their 
hands, instruments for abasing the value of the 
Egyptian functionaries who have held high offices ; 
and their power to do so proves the nullity of the 
reforms, or detracts from their value." 

What the speaker precisely meant by this, did 
not come out very clearly. The utterance pre- 
sumably related to a warfare of individualities, 
upon which topic we shall hear the other side. 

" Does he believe that Egypt is really ripe for 
self-government ? " 

" I consider that the present moment is one at 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 149 

which England can with confidence and safety 
give to the Egyptians the administration of their 
country. So long as the present state of affairs 
lasts — that is to say, as long as we have the 
occupation — the capacity of the Egyptians to 
govern their own country will diminish." 

"Why?" 

" Because the rSle which England has played 
during the past three or four years, since the 
accession of the Khedive Abbas " 

The sheikh caught at the Khedive's name in 
the translation, and interrupted, to be told exactly 
what his colleague was conveying. 

"A year before the accession of the present 
Khedive," corrected his colleague, after their 
hurried dialogue, — "since that time, because it 
began before the death of the late Khedive — the 
part which England seeks to fill is that of showing 
to the Egyptian people that they are between 
her hands. Is it to be England, or is it to be 
Egypt ? There is a sort of competition betwixt 
the two. Well, the continuance of the occupation 
kills in us the capacity to administer for ourselves. 
The capacity cannot grow; and although it has 
germinated, it will die out." 

"Why, if it has been able to germinate, with 



iSo EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

the British here since 1882, should it die 
now ? " 

"We think," said the sheikh, "that the English 
seek to monopolize all the administrations, and 
to hinder the Egyptians from being capable of 
governing ; and that makes us lose all hope." 

" Is the majority of the native population with 
you, do you think ? " 

"Not the majority, but the totality. We are 
sure of it. It may happen that a nation is divided 
into several parties, and that some display them- 
selves, whilst others hide their heads. But, on 
this question, there is not a single Egyptian who 
does not detest the occupation. The English use 
their powers and authority to gain certain categories 
of persons in the country to their cause, but there 
is not a single Egyptian who has sincerely ranged 
himself on their side. We claim our independence, 
and that is the view we stand by in the programme 
of our journal. The same would be the case if 
the French were here instead of England." 

The "same'' would, in all probability, not be 
the case, so far as El Moaiad might be concerned, 
under the hypothesis suggested. I did not learn, 
until too late to inform or remind the sheikh, that 
under the French in Algeria or Tunis no native 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 151 

paper in opposition is tolerated for a moment 
Ali Youssef will peruse these lines, however, in 
the dress of his own elegant and graceful language ; 
and the difference in the character of the rule, the 
little oversight he committed in his concluding 
sentences, ought not to escape his perspicacity. 
El Moaiad, they explained to me, signifies The 
Victor. Several Sultans of Egypt have borne the 
surname ; and by one of them was erected a 
monumental mosque which travellers visit. A 
Sultan of llama, in Syria, who also was adorned 
with the flattering . appellation, wrote a book of 
history well known in Arabic literature, a history 
of the world from the Creation to his own day. 
But no such Moaiad as the daily journal which 
confronts the English in Egypt would be possible 
to the Sheikh Ali Youssef and his friends, "if 
France were here instead of England." Ce n'est 
rien, ca, si vous voulez, remarked the personage 
who imparted the enlightenment on the subject of 
the native press in Algeria and Tunis — et c'est 
tout I 

The sheikh harked back to an incidental com- 
ment respecting the readiness of the Egyptian 
people for autonomy. He did not mean to imply, 
he said, that the Egyptians were as advanced in 



152 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

the scale of civilization as the English or the 
French, nor that they were yet as capable of 
government as those two peoples. What he 
meant was that Egypt might always follow in 
the road of progress, independence, and greatness 
if England became her friend ; but England could 
be her friend only by keeping outside her boundaries. 
If Egypt could recover her independence, on such 
a basis as he indicated, she would become the 
leader of all the Oriental nations, and would figure 
as the exemplar in the Oriental world from 
the point of view of civilization and progress. 
Egyptians hoped that in this sense England would 
become their friend. They knew, in fact, that in 
that sense England would be the most sincere 
friend they could possess, because she would do 
her utmost to hinder any other country from 
occupying their land. 

With this remarkable utterance from the Sheikh 
AH Youssef the conversation virtually ended. He 
was extremely anxious that nothing of his remarks 
should undergo modification ; and as, from an 
occurrence which he narrated in detail, with names 
and dates, he appears to feel that he was not quite 
fairly dealt with on an analogous occasion in the 
past, it is to be hoped he may be well satisfied 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 153 

with the manner in which the assurances returned 
to him have been carried out. " Our objection to 
foreign occupation," ran his parting words, " applies 
with the same strength to Turkey, were the 
Turkish suzerainty to become an active force. 
We do not object to the suzerainty as it exists, 
for our vassalage is but nominal. ' We should 
object to an occupying-governing suzerainty. We 
say ' Egypt for the Egyptians.' If we are exhibit- 
ing an inclination towards the French, it is the 
English themselves who have caused it." 

I believe that neither the editor of the Moaiad 
nor the members of his party who are at all well 
informed would dispute the assertion that the 
circulation of that paper attains to scarcely one- 
half, perhaps not one-third, of the figure which 
can be pointed to in the case of the Mokattam, the 
daily pro-British Arabic journal. Let us now see 
what are the rejoinders from the standpoint of the 
Mokattam, as from that of the) Progrfc, the pro- 
British daily paper published in French, and 
owned by an Egyptian of Hellenic origin. 



CHAPTER IX. 

The Sheikh All Youssef told me that the first 
number of his journal El Moatad appeared on the 
eighth day of Rabi, in the year 1306, and it would 
scarcely surprise any one to learn that a news- 
paper of such ostensible antiquity had veered in 
its political programme since the period of its 
foundation. That date, however, belongs to the 
Mohammedan era, not to ours. It corresponds 
with December i, 1889. Consequently, the Moatad 
is but between six and seven years old, and has 
found its reasons for a total change of conviction 
within curiously narrow limits of time. In fact, 
before halfway towards what even in the East can 
be regarded as the threshold of maturity, the Moatad 
now presents opinions, averments, and demands 
which amount to a complete reversal of its original 
partisanship. What said the Sheikh Ali Youssef? 
He carried on his anti-British policy in this leading 
organ amongst the native opposition sheets, because 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 155 

it was Great Britain who occupied the country ; 
and he was pro- French, or, rather, was the ally of 
the French, because the latter pursued an aim 
professedly identical with his own. " Egypt for the 
Egyptians" — those are my sentiments, the sheikh 
insists in Ragab, of the Moslem year 1313, forget- 
ting Rabi, of 1306; "L' Autonomic de CEgypte" 
reiterates M. Cogordan, the French Consul-General 
at Cairo, in his familiar conversations — "that is 
what we want." France did not want any such 
thing for several generations, and only arrived at 
the vague formula ventilated by M. Cogordan 
some years after the discovery that she had made 
herself impossible as one immediate obstacle, any 
longer, to an autonomous Egypt. As for Ali 
Youssef, no one, while respecting to the full the 
rights and worth of all true national aspiration, 
will expect to hear from him, or from any other 
member of his party, a practical definition of 
" Egyptian " which would satisfy all Egyptians, 
or a practical scheme for the application of any 
Egyptian definition to the matter-of-fact process 
of autonomy. He himself has known this well, 
and his friends perhaps know it as well now as 
ever. We will turn for a moment to Rabi, 1306. 
The files of the Moaiad are here, accessible to any 



156 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

person versed in current Arabic — to any com- 
petent translator whom any person wishing to 
secure the actual text for himself, may choose 
to employ. 

It was upon the broad proposition that Egypt 
must always stand in need of the support of a 
Great Power that the Sheikh Ali Youssef started 
the Moaiad; his corollary to that proposition being 
that England, by her past acts, must be considered 
as the country that would "just answer the pur- 
pose." England had been tried, both before and 
after the occupation, and the ablest men of Egypt 
had decided that she was a country which could 
not possibly be improved upon " for the purpose." 
The best policy for the Egyptian Government to 
adopt, therefore, should be that of co-operating 
with England, and of preserving the most friendly 
relations with her. All the reforms which Eng- 
land suggested should be put into execution ; 
nothing that France suggested could weigh for a 
single moment in the balance. The most violent 
articles ever published in any Arabic paper against 
the French and their policy in Egypt appeared 
in the columns of the Moaiad at its commence- 
ment, and were ascribed to the Sheikh Ali Youssef 
in person. No doubt the susceptibilities of a 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 157 

Moslem population rendered necessary the occa- 
sional hint that some day Egypt would be " fit to 
rule herself," but, in order that the hint should not 
be taken too seriously by England, the broad 
proposition, as above, and the corollary, always 
followed upon its heels. This programme flourished 
until a certain event occurred which showed how 
relative in politics can be men's conception of a 
truth. Riaz Pasha fell. It was to Riaz Pasha that 
the establishment of the Moaiad had been due ; 
and it was he who, favourable at that time to a 
British policy, had procured the reinforcement of 
the Moaiad by an enterprise on the same lines in 
a different quarter. As soon, however, as the 
Riaz Pasha Ministry fell, the attitude of its chief, 
in opposition, became one of antagonism to the 
British policy pursued by his successor. The 
Moaiad at once changed its tone. 

AH Youssef, who had gone so far in his diatribes 
against the French as to pronounce a curse upon 
the French language — a fearful and portentous 
extreme to the Mohammedan idea — reversed his 
policy with a suddenness for which he could assign 
no suitable explanation. Riaz quitted office upon 
the question of Sir John Scott's reforms, to which 
he objected; but the embarrassment discernible 



158 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

in the first few articles of the Moaiad, after the 
change, betrayed the helplessness experienced by 
the managers of the party in the effort to select 
some solid ground for their resistance. An old 
subscriber to the journal informed me that the 
vapidity and constraint in this respect may be 
traced on for some time past the period covered 
by the first few articles, and that a definite line 
of action became visible only when the present 
Khedive had succeeded to power, and when dif- 
ferences resulted with Lord Cromer. The advent 
of M. Percher, who preceded M. Deloncle, gave the 
Opposition Arab broadsheets their new note — 
the formula of " Egypt for the Egyptians." M. 
Deloncle is stated to have drawn ^3000 or £4000 
from a Moslem theocratic fund, prior to his return 
into France a year ago, for the purposes of his 
campaign against the British occupation. The 
positive assurances with which his parting speeches 
at Cairo were enamelled led the native press to 
look for sensational developments by the month 
of October. According to the popular story, he 
picked up a glass while speaking to the organizers 
of his farewell banquet, declared that, as certainly 
as he should shatter the glass, the English would 
be forced to evacuate Egypt, and then threw it 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 159 

down, breaking it, by a not particularly difficult 
feat, into the predicted fragments. But he was 
also reported to have committed the imprudence 
of fixing the date; and he fixed October 1, 1895. 
Persons whose business it has been to watch the 
symptoms of fanatical impressionability agree that 
a certain effervescence became perceptible as the 
month of September drew to its close. In the 
vieux coins et recoins there was perhaps a whisper 
of a " rising ; " but the motives lacked force.* If 
any such movement had been possible, as the 
outcome of wild words by European agitators, it 
would not have been an " anti-English rising " at 
all ; it would have been an outbreak of the Moslem 
against the Christian. The motives lacked force. 
I was talking to a travelled Egyptian upon the 
subject of an assertion by Moustafa Kamel, M. 
Deloncle's protigi — unless the protegi of the two 
is M. Deloncle ; and I was told that even extreme 
fanatics had the best of reasons for an avoidance 
of any rising against the English, whatever might 
have been the case if the "semi-rule" had been 
vested in some other nationality. Moustafa Kamel, 
lecturing to a French audience, accused the English 

* M. Deloncle afterwards fixed April, 1896, as the month during 
which the departure of the British would be witnessed. 



160 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

of insulting the Mohammedan religion and the 
Prophet " Why," exclaimed my informant, " the 
tolerance which characterizes the English has 
actually turned thousands and tens of thousands 
of indifferent Moslems in Egypt into devout 
Moslems. A friend of ours, a prominent Moham- 
medan in Syria, who visited Egypt before the 
occupation, was terribly grieved to notice the 
religious indifference which prevailed among the 
people here, and he went back bewailing that 
' Islam was dead in Egypt' He had seen a 
Greek coachman lashing the crowd in the streets 
of Cairo, and yelling curses on their Prophet, be- 
cause they obstructed the roadway, and no one 
resented by look or gesture anything he said. 
Our friend wrote in an Arabic periodical, published 
in Syria, that Egypt was a lost country, that the 
Prophet was cursed in the streets there, and nobody 
paid any heed. It would be altogether different 
now," observed my informant. " The English 
have taught a new freedom and a sense of right, 
and I think that an equal result has been a more 
general and reciprocal feeling of respect. It would 
not be safe to curse their Prophet to them now ! " 
I asked for an explanation of Moustafa Kamel's 
coadjutancy with M. Deloncle. "When M. Deloncle 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. i6r 

made his first appearance here to agitate in the 
interests of France," was the reply, "Moustafa 
Kamel was the young man engaged to act as his 
interpreter. Moustafa Kamel had failed to pass 
examinations in law, and I suppose he found that 
the lecturing offered him an easy livelihood, besides 
bringing him into a notoriety which he could turn 
to account He has an elder brother who is a 
man of real acquirements, and who is greatly 
incensed against him for the role he has taken up."* 

* If this is the brother who was court-martialled for refusing to 
serve on the expedition into the Soudan, the example of Moustafa 
has, all the same, not been without its effects. Aly Fahmy 
Kamel, however, officer in the Egyptian army, may be a second 
brother. He declined to obey orders ; was tried by court-martial ; 
was reduced to the ranks ; and now accompanies his regiment as 
private. A Paris morning paper printed a two-column "inter- 
view" which a "Correspondent at Cairo" had had with Moustafa 
Kamel upon this case. The Cairo correspondent, unfortunately, 
had the air of having arranged an interview with himself ; Moustafa 
interrogated, and Moustafa replied ; the whole thing read like 
Moustafa. And the account which the interview furnished of the 
hard case, represented Aly Fahmy as reduced to the ranks out of 
sheer tyranny, Great Britain having been athirst for vengeance 
upon Moustafa, and having struck at him in this way through an 
inoffensive relative^ 

On March 23rd, Moustafa Kamel addressed a letter to Lord 
Cromer, protesting against the " punishment of a man whose sole 
crime is that of being my brother." He concluded : " I beg you, 
my lord, to act against myself, if you judge my presence or my 
proceedings to be injurious to the Occupation." 

On March 24th, the following reply was despatched to him : 

" sir Lord Cromer instructs me to acknowledge receipt of your 

M 



i6 2 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

To return, however, to the present programme 
of the Moaiad, Dr. Nimr, one of the two gentle- 
men of Oriental origin who own and edit the 
Mokattam, has been kind enough to favour me 
with comments, from the standpoint of his journal, 
upon the contentions put forward by the Sheikh 
Ali Youssef. " No reasonable being objects to 
the independence of his country," said Dr. Nimr, 
"but when they talk about the political inde- 
pendence of Egypt, what do they mean by it ? 
Press them to explain, and you find that it simply 
means that they want to see the country left as 
Turkey is left now — free for maladministration, 

letter of yesterday's date, on the subject of the judgment pro- 
nounced by court-martial upon your brother, on the 21st inst. 
It is contrary to the practice of his lordship to interpose in ques- 
tions of military discipline ; nevertheless, and in spite of the 
improper terms of which you have made use in the final paragraph, 
Lord Cromer has instituted inquiries with respect to the case to 
which you drew his attention. He finds that your brother Aly 
effendi Fahmy was tried by summary court-martial, duly con- 
stituted, and composed of an English officer and two Egyptian 
officers, on the charge of having intimated that he resigned his 
commission when he received orders to take active service. After 
hearing his defence, the Court found him guilty, and sentenced 
him to be reduced to the ranks. This judgment has been con- 
firmed by the Sirdar, on the instructions of his Highness the 
Khedive. If, therefore, you have any reasons to submit for an 
alleviation of the sentence, Lord Cromer is of opinion that you 
should address yourself to his Highness the Khedive. — I am, etc. 
(Signed) Rennell Rodd." 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 163 

oppression, and barbarity of every sort If we 
wish for independence, we wish for guarantees of 
that independence. But what they want is an 
Egypt devoid of any guarantees for either good 
administration, or security of property, or personal 
freedom. There is no question of representative 
Chambers. We have an absolute ruler, and a 
certain number of officials, and the latter are at 
the present time very much as they were before 
the occupation, when it was admitted that no 
independence existed whatever." 

"But is not the development of representative 
institutions implied in the MoatacPs programme ? " 

" Did you interrogate the Sheikh Ali Youssef 
on that matter ? " 

" No ; I took it for granted." 

" That is one of the proofs. we are always having 
of the Western difficulty to realize the difference 
there is in the Oriental atmosphere and ideas. 
Remember that these are people whose standard 
is the lives of men who lived a thousand years ago; 
their aim is to live up to the level of their ancient 
Mohammedan teachers." The remark tallied aptly 
with what had fallen from a British official with re- 
ference to the limitations placed upon the functions 
of the elected bodies by the Dufferin Constitution 



164 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

which created them. But for those restrictions 
the provincial councils, and the assembly, or the 
assemblies above them, would be found debating 
topics almost incomprehensibly foreign to their 
business, and would be voting resolutions based 
on antiquated theology. " The Sheikh Ali Yous- 
sef urged that the present moment was the moment 
juste for the political independence he talked of," 
continued Dr. Nimr; "and to answer him upon 
that detail, it happens that we have a test actually 
before our eyes. Two branches of Government 
have been left by the English entirely in the 
hands of the natives ; the one is the department 
of the Wakfs, who deal with property bequeathed 
for charitable purposes, and the other consists 
in the tribunals administered according to the 
Moslem law. Now, I believe I can say that it 
is acknowledged by everybody, by the sheikh and 
everybody else, that these two are a long way 
behind every other department of the Govern- 
ment They stand in need of the widest reforms ; 
and, in order that the reforms should be carried 
out, Mussulmans themselves suggest that the 
English should take them in hand." 

"The sheikh was of the opinion that Egypt 
might now be capable of assuming the lead over 
Oriental countries ? " 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 165 

" As an Oriental myself, I can say to that, that 
the other Orientals are really ahead of the Egyp- 
tians, because they have more backbone. Think 
of what this poor nation is, and make allow- 
ance for them in everything. They have been 
downtrodden for ages. The rural population do 
not credit you if you tell them that there is any- 
thing higher in the world than the banks of their 
canals, or such hills as they may have heard of 
in their own country. They call the Nile the 
' great sea of the world.' When you can once 
get them to understand your English ideas of 
improvement, they admit you are right. The 
irrigation is a proof of this. Take Sir Colin 
Scott Moncrieff s success ; the great barrage had 
been a French failure, but when the native popu- 
lation saw what could be done with that work 
in English hands, they said, ' Well, after all, these 
Englishmen know what they are about.' If, how- 
ever, Egypt were left to herself, on the programme 
of the Moaiad, the old Moslem education would 
naturally supersede everything again ; and that 
is an education consisting of religious law and 
literature, logic, Arabic grammar, and commen- 
taries upon the Koran. To their mind, the light 
in which you look at things seems extremely 



1 66 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

unnatural. What we call progress, the vast 
majority of them do not regard as progress at 
all. If we are to suppose that the programme 
of the Moaiad does not mean the governmental 
predominance of the Moaiad native party, but 
that of the existing official classes not Europeans, 
then I say that the career of the Moaiad itself 
would come abruptly to an end. The Sheikh 
AH Youssef would not be able to bring out his 
paper any longer." 

Both Dr. Nimr and his partner, Dr. Sarruf, 
pointed out that when the native Opposition press 
assailed the Ministry of Public Instruction, their 
attacks were found to depend entirely upon the 
presence, or absence, of particular individuals at 
the head of the department, and that they would 
praise at one time, and blame at another, an 
administration and a policy which had continued 
unchanged in the slightest degree. Riaz Pasha, 
for instance, had held the portfolio of Public 
Instruction, and when he went out of office the 
native journals which supported him misrepre- 
sented the most important actions of the depart- 
ment under his successor. At the present time, in 
the interests of a single politician out of office, the 
Moaiad habitually inveighed against the Ministry 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 167 

of Public Instruction ; and all the criticisms were 
translated into the French press as though they 
were valid from the point of view of British ad- 
ministration. Anything that might be uttered in 
France, thereupon, was then retranslated into the 
Arabic journals for the sake of its effect upon the 
native mind. 

Among the principal passages of the Deloncle- 
Moustafa Kamel pamphlets and lectures the follow- 
ing wrung expressions of disgust from several 
Europeans, not British, to whose notice I brought 
them : " The English have introduced no financial 
reforms whatever. They have simply suppressed 
the joint control by England and France, to sub- 
stitute for it a single control under the supervision 
of an English financial adviser, who distributes 
amongst his compatriots the greater portion of 
the budget. . . . As for the state of justice in 
the country, everything is disorganized since the 
appointment of an English adviser at the Ministry 
of Justice." Dr. Sarruf, who is the editor of the 
scientific and literary magazine, Al-Muktataf, 
published at Cairo in Arabic, replied upon the 
former of the two heads that the whole sum drawn 
by Europeans in the Egyptian services was less 
now than prior to the occupation, and that it was 



1 68 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

exceedingly questionable whether the English 
received, in proportion to their numbers, anything 
more than the members of any other nationality. 
Nor were their numbers at all so preponderating 
as was implied. I read to Dr. Nimr the para- 
graph — " Since the appointment of an English 
adviser at the Ministry of Justice, everything is 
disorganized. . . . Certain Egyptian patriots have 
been obliged to address a petition to the French 
Chamber of Deputies, demanding in the name of 
the entire Egyptian nation the benefits of the 
mixed tribunals rather than that they should 
remain at the mercy of the English agents." 

" Poor Sir John Scott ! " exclaimed Dr. Nimr ; 
"he worked more than any one else for the 
Egyptian Moslem. They were compelled to get 
in Sir John Scott to make the machine of justice 
work, and it was he who developed it and 
smoothed it for them." 

A further paragraph complained that " last 
winter the English created a special tribunal, 
which is a manifest abuse of power, and dis- 
honours British civilization. The constitution of 
this tribunal alone should furnish an idea of Eng- 
land's treatment of our unfortunate country." 

" That was a court which was very much needed 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 169 

as a check upon what had been going on," 
answered Dr. Nimr. " Several cases had occurred 
in which English soldiers and sailors had been 
badly dealt with ; they had been murderously 
attacked by the low-class population, and some 
of them had been killed. The special tribunal 
is there to see that low-class miscreants shall not 
escape punishment in future, in any such cases ; 
but, as a matter of fact, it has never yet held a 
sitting." 

Dr. Nimr recurred to the point that if the Sheikh 
Ali Youssef were to obtain his " political inde- 
pendence " he would not be able to subsist upon 
his journal, the Moatad, and laid great stress upon 
the contention. " It would not be what you 
understand in Europe," said he, "viz. a popular 
movement. Ali Youssef would have no freedom 
of speech. His paper would be suppressed. At 
the present time we have freedom of the press 
in Egypt greater than the French possess in 
France. Whether the English stay or not, their 
presence here has been, now is, and, as long as 
they do go on, must continue to be, the grandest 
blessing that can happen to Egypt. As things 
now exist, we are perfectly sure that the people 
in office are not the robbers of the country. We 



I7Q EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

know that every man has a fair chance to succeed 
who will try to succeed. The road to progress 
is open now to everybody." 

" What of the education ? " 

"The Minister for Public Instruction is taking 
the matter earnestly in hand. But, you see, the 
difficulty about popular education here is that 
the Moslems who talk, and write, and guide the 
rest, have not the teachers themselves, and will 
not accept them from outside. There are Mo- 
hammedan primary schools, with sheikhs from 
El Azhar University to teach, but the instruction 
is confined to Arabic, with a little, a very little, 
arithmetic. A great need exists for popular 
education. The masses would still be capable of 
believing what they received as gospel from the 
Tantah Sheikh in 1882, viz. that during the night 
he had swallowed three of the British ironclads at 
Alexandria, and that he was preparing, with the 
aid of the Prophet, to swallow more. With regard 
to the higher classes in the towns, the incoherence 
which, prior to the British occupation, despatched 
a man into the law who had been studying 
mechanics, or into medicine when he had been 
studying law, has latterly disappeared. I re- 
member that, before 1S82, we found a man who 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 171 

had been sent by the Government to Paris as a 
pupil in agriculture, holding the exalted Govern- 
ment office of toll-collector on a bridge. Since the 
sensible and equitable British administration has 
shown them that all careers are open to them if 
they will properly equip themselves, the natives of 
the towns are crowding into channels which they 
had previously been accustomed to regard as not 
for Egyptians, but for Turks and Europeans. An 
Egyptian who studies medicine now adopts the 
medical profession afterwards, instead of something 
else. The old Egyptians may tell you that the 
number of native students at the medical schools 
is less now than formerly ; but they do not give 
you the reasons. One of the reasons is that the 
studies have a more direct bearing now upon the 
subsequent careers ; another is that the young 
men are attracted by the salaries paid in the Civil 
Service." 

" How does Egypt under the British occupation 
compare with Syria under Turkish rule ? " 

" Since 1882 the positions have been reversed. 
Fifteen years ago all the Arabic newspapers were 
published in Syria, and had to be brought here 
from that province ; now they are published here, 
and go into Syria. Syrians who visit Egypt, and 



172 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

see what has been done, envy us. ' What has 
come over Egypt ? ' they say. ' Oh, if only our 
country were as Egypt is now ! ' " 

I asked Dr. Nimr and Dr. Sarruf for their 
opinion as to the real sentiments of the fellaheen 
towards England. 

" The Opposition Arab sheets tell their readers 
that the English have made the Mohammedans 
of India a downtrodden, poor, and miserable 
population," was the reply, •' and the fellaheen 
say to you, ' Yes, we are very happy now ; but 
suppose the English are not satisfied to let us 
go on as we are — suppose they take our wives 
and daughters, and begin to treat us as they treat 
the Moslems of India ! ' You assure them that 
they have been misled as to this, and you try to 
elicit from them some expression as to the per- 
manency of the English rule. ' The English must 
go,' they answer you, ' because Moslems must not 
be ruled by Christians.' You speak about other 
matters, and they make no secret of their joy at 
the altered condition of affairs, their prosperity, 
their freedom from oppression, their knowledge 
that if official backsheesh has to be given, it is not 
the English who exact it, or who profit by it, 
and, indeed, that the English do their best to 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 173 

save the fellaheen from it. 'Ah, if we could 
only count upon the English keeping up this 
glorious era ! ' they say. Then you come round 
to your first question, and you ask whether these 
words of theirs are merely empty words. ' No,' 
they answer, ' we are truly grateful to the Eng- 
lish; but Moslems must not be ruled by Chris- 
tians.' No fanaticism or misrepresentation, 
however, can blind them to the vastly increased 
productiveness of the country since the application 
by the English of the irrigation methods which 
they introduced from India. Do you know that 
we raise in Egypt, now, three times more cotton 
per acre than is raised in America? And there 
are certain projects, quite feasible, for largely 
extending the area now under cultivation." 

To go into much more of the varied, practical, 
and anecdotic matter contributed by both partners 
might perhaps weary the far-off British reader, 
engrossed at home, as the telegraph teaches his 
Egyptian friends, with sudden problems all strange 
to the immense Mohammedan world. 

"The Egyptian Question," summed up Dr. • 
Sarruf, "is the difference between Turkey and 
Egypt before and after, the British occupation." 
" Many of the fellaheen in Upper Egypt," added 



174 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

Dr. Nimr, *' now date after the Year of the Bless- 
ing, that is, after 1883. They say, in both Upper 
and Lower Egypt, 'Oh, this is the time of the 
Blessing,' and they fix occurrences as having 
happened so many years after the Year of the 
Blessing. We have published in our columns 
letters of testimony and gratitude, with the many 
signatures, volunteered, of the correspondents — in 
Arabic, of course ; and the attempts which have 
been made in the highest quarters to persecute 
those poor men — fruitless attempts in every case, 
so far as we know — have .not prevented similar 
tributes to the English rule from others. When 
we receive such communications we print them 
under a heading which is a text in the Koran, 
'Declare aloud the blessings and the gifts that 
are sent to you by God.' " 



CHAPTER X. 

One further document, in the same form of local 
and direct evidence. M. Kyriacopoulo, the pro- 
prietor and editor of the Progrh, and an Egyptian 
whose long experience and intimate acquaintance 
with the East renders his testimony of peculiar 
value, reviewed the whole subject so comprehen- 
sively, in the course of a talk at his office, that 
I think I cannot do better than simply reproduce 
his words. 

"The Egyptian Question ought to be called, 
from my point of view," premised M. Kyriaco- 
poulo, "the Question of the civilization of Africa. 
The commerce of the world is necessarily con- 
cerned in seeing that the civilizing and humani- 
tarian work be undertaken by that Power amongst 
them all which practises free trade. Unfor- 
tunately, the general interest does not always 
weigh in the balance against separate political 
considerations ; and so we have the Egyptian 



176 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

Question subordinate to the solution which may 
be arrived at in the main question of the East 
centering round Constantinople. If Russia suc- 
ceeded in planting herself >at Constantinople, it 
would not be the civilization of Africa alone, but 
your British dominion in Asia, which would come 
into play. Mistress of Constantinople, Russia 
would be able to organize naval forces in every 
sea, and she would oblige you to maintain still 
larger forces always in readiness, to defend, for 
instance, the Suez Canal route to your possessions 
in Africa as in India. I was well acquainted with 
Sir Henry Bulwer at Constantinople in bygone 
years, and, at a time prior to his appointment as 
Ambassador, he did me the honour of discussing 
Eastern politics with me frequently. He stated 
to me that if the Turks persisted in refusing to 
introduce reforms into their Government, England 
would detach herself completely from all interest 
in the Ottoman Empire, and would occupy Egypt 
as a means of securing her own national interests. 
The idea made an impression upon me at that 
time; but, later, when I had studied the Eastern 
Question rather more minutely, I perceived that 
Sir Henry Bulwer was not a great diplomatist 
if he really believed that England would be 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 177 

safeguarding her interests by the course he laid 
down — that is, by an abandonment of the Turkish 
Question, which would leave Russia free to go 
to Constantinople. It became, and still is, my 
opinion that the noeud of the British future in 
Africa must be sought at Constantinople. You 
will object to me that you cannot eternally 
hinder a Power like Russia, a great expansive 
force, from descending towards the Mediterranean. 
That is true ; but what are the precautions which 
England has taken in presence of that eventuality ? 
You will scarcely argue that you must wait for 
the danger to declare itself before you adopt 
precautions. The help you gave to the cause of 
Italian unity was an act of justice which to-day 
is bearing fruit ; you are rewarded for that by 
the possession of an ally, and of a point d'appui 
to the west of the Mediterranean. What are the 
precautions adopted in the direction of the east 
of the Mediterranean ? I do not see any. Never- 
theless, a maritime element exists there which 
ought not to be neglected — the Greek race. The 
Greek race is opposed to the Slav, is anxious to 
safeguard its independence, and seeks, above 
all, to avoid absorption or inclusion by Russia. 
If, however, Russia arrived at a domination of 

N 



178 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

Constantinople, the rayonnement of her influence, 
even if Greece succeeded in preserving her inde- 
pendence, would be such that the Hellenic element 
would inevitably gravitate towards the Russian 
centre. The consequence would be that Russia, 
which is to-day a great Continental power, but 
not a great maritime power, would then have 
procured the arm now lacking to her, and would 
have completed her forces. 

"Turning from the general question to that of 
Egypt internally, I say that you have for you, 
firstly the bondholders, and, secondly, all the 
Europeans who dwell in Egypt and wish for an 
effectual guarantee for the future. English policy, 
by civilizing the Egyptians, will arrive at a con- 
ciliation of two elements at present opposed, viz. 
the native and the European. The masses in 
Egypt may be fanatical, but their fanaticism 
would be altogether inoffensive if it were not fed 
by considerations of a material order. Christian 
peoples do not sufficiently understand, perhaps, 
that the Mussulman religion itself is founded upon 
materialism. Excitations of the fanatical feeling 
arise in our own epoch as much from a social 
inequality as from anything else. The native, 
who for ages has been tyrannized and despoiled, 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 179 

has in our own epoch seen by the side of him 
the European, covered by treaties, protected by 
his consul, and prospering upon his advantages. 
It was largely to the envy and hatred thus pro- 
duced that the rising and massacre of 1882 were 
due. England, by her labours to ameliorate the 
position of the natives, and to efface the great 
inequalities that have existed, as well as by her 
development of the public wealth, and her gift 
of justice and liberty to the native, will reconcile 
the two elements by the most practical means. 
There is not a native who does not recognize at 
heart the benefits of the British occupation. If 
you talk with the poorer classes, the petit peuple, 
they will tell you that never, at any period of 
their history, have they been as free as they are 
to-day ; only, they fear to manifest their senti- 
ments because of the instability of the situation. 
They are not sure that this situation will continue. 
I will not enumerate all the good which the 
English administration has accomplished in Egypt. 
The most conspicuous benefit resides in the vast 
extent of land which their system of irrigation 
has brought into cultivation ; but a moment must 
come when there will be no more new land for 
the Department of Irrigation to place before the 



180 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

people, with the means now at its disposal. If 
it should be sought to augment still more the 
surface cultivable, the English administration will 
find itself confronted by a difficulty considered 
to be insurmountable — the absence of credit, the 
poverty of the finance. The Egyptian Budget is 
the Budget of a country in bankruptcy. The 
engagements entered into with the bondholders 
before the occupation constitute the worst fetters 
now for the wider development of agriculture ; 
the Government cannot apply its savings to the 
great works of public utility which will be requisite 
for the further extension of the arable area." 

Here M. Kyriacopoulo touched the one pre- 
eminent topic for the fellaheen, as connected with 
the future. The Barrage, constructed by M. 
Mougelle about fifty years ago, has already been 
alluded to. It consists of sluices across both 
branches of the Nile at a point just below their 
separation, a few miles outside Cairo ; the object 
being to hold the water back for irrigation purposes, 
instead of permitting wasteful flow into the sea. 
The credit of the undertaking is commonly con- 
ceded to the French engineer named above ; but, 
apart from the fact that the work remained 
partially inoperative until perfected by the British, 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 181 

under Lord Cromer, it was not by M. Mougelle, 
but by a compatriot of his who preceded him, that 
the scheme was laid before the Egyptian Govern- 
ment. And, before either of them, the idea 
belongs to Mohammed Ali, that "barbarian of 
genius," as a British official terms him ; whilst, 
a score of years earlier than Mohammed Ali's 
notion of damming up one of the two river courses, 
Napoleon, who uttered a good deal of fustian in 
Egypt, but also detected the essential in much, 
declared that not a drop of the Nile water ought 
to be allowed to reach the sea at all. The dream 
for the future among those of the fellaheen who 
know what Upper Egypt is already producing, 
pictures some such structure as the present Barrage 
high up along the main bed of the Nile, with 
sections of canals performing in those regions that 
which they themselves have witnessed in Middle 
Egypt and the Delta. There will be land to 
be had.* 

"That would be a work preliminary to many 

* Their Opposition broad-sheets tell them pretty frequently, 
too, of a trans-Soudanese trade that might have been retained but 
for England. They are reminded that there was a time when, to 
put the same record in the words of Sir Samuel Baker, " fifteen 
English steamers were plying upon the great White Nile, before 
the Soudan was abandoned by the despotic order of Great Britain, 
and handed back to savagedom and wild beasts." 



i82 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

others of enormous usefulness to the country," 
proceeded M. Kyriacopoulo ; " but although there 
are millions sterling in the Caisse de la Dette 
Publique, these savings cannot be devoted to the 
purpose, cannot be applied at all, because of the 
past conventions with the Powers, and because 
the latter cannot all be induced to consent. A 
new conversion might be executed, but the Powers 
oppose. No heavier injustice could be inflicted 
upon a country in full development. If the British 
Government wish to spare Lord Cromer the per- 
petual role of Sisyphus, it ought to advise means 
for disentangling the Egyptian Government from 
engagements that were taken in view of a situation 
now non-existent. I do not believe that diplo- 
matic dangers would result from such a course. 
The interests of the bondholders would not be in 
the slightest degree injured by the proceeding ; the 
public wealth would be increased. The British 
Government should declare that the engagements 
of Egypt having been entered into at a period of 
bankruptcy, and the country being now in full 
financial development, and needing to be placed 
on its feet, all such engagements are suspended 
for the whole duration of the occupation. This 
would be all the more just, as, having assumed the 



v^.-\^.y:;<^! 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 183 

responsibility by your occupation, you are entitled 
to have your elbows free for your task. As there 
cannot be rights without responsibility, there ought 
not to be responsibility without rights. The highest 
service has been rendered to the country, again, 
by the separation of the judicial and the executive 
powers, since 1883. It is no longer competent 
for a Governor, a Minister, or the Khedive him- 
self, to intervene in judicial affairs. In Europe 
you can scarcely conceive what that simple separa- 
tion of the two functions has done. The fellaheen 
feel themselves to be sheltered by a safeguard 
they never knew until then, and they are actually 
in far more easy circumstances now, with cotton 
at less than £2 per kantar, than they were when 
it stood at from £10 to £11; at one moment 
it reached £12. It is the simple separation of 
the judicial and administrative powers, not the 
efficiency of the tribunals — because these are still 
defective — that has worked this miracle. I say 
they are defective, because you have passed 
from one extreme to the other ; you have given 
the native judge too much independence before 
he has become fitted to use it, and judgments 
are delivered which are in contempt of the 
evidence, and amount to an abuse." 



1 84 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

Questioned on the subject of Egyptian Oppo- 
sition, the speaker added: "You have the oppo- 
sition of the classes dirigeantes. Egypt has always 
had two markedly distinct classes — the one that 
dominated, the other that was ruled. The former 
had been successively the Nubians, the Assyrians, 
the Persians, the Macedonians, the Romans, the 
Turks; and the natives have been the classe dominie. 
We have now families which came into Egypt with 
Mohammed Ali, and a large number of Turkish 
families which migrated from Greece when Greece 
was declared independent That is the class 
which has supplied the officers of the army, the 
governors, the Ministers — public functionaries in 
general. They have fused to some extent with 
the native element, so that in their houses these 
families talk Arabic rather than Turkish, and 
their number has grown by the addition of natives 
who were admitted to administrative functions by 
Ismail Pasha. As soon as they become Bey or 
Pasha, these natives exceed the Turks in oppres- 
siveness ; they have ceased to be natives, ceased 
to be one with the fellah. Guerrazzi wrote, 
'Non vi e tirannia peggiore di quella del servo 
* divenuto padrone! There is no tyranny worse 
than that of the servant become master, and it 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 185 

applies very well to those natives promoted under 
Ismail. At the head of the class thus formed, you 
have the clergy and the chief of the State ; and 
it seems impossible that that class should ever 
reconcile itself to the British occupation, because 
you can never give them back what they have 
lost. Under the old corrupt state of things 
fortunes were easy to make. But this class, in 
striving against the British occupation, are wrong 
if they fancy that they could recover the possession 
of the abuses they have lost, should the Maison 
Britannique give way. If the English went away 
from here, all the people of that class would find 
themselves overrun or overthrown by the mass 
of the natives. Should the English yield, and 
leave us, there would be for a brief interval the 
strange phenomenon of a cJief d'Etat, who is 
Turkish, using Egyptian instruments for a tyranny 
over the Egyptian people. But the first ambitious 
officer who, like Arabi under Tewfik Pasha, should 
raise the standard of revolt, would see the whole 
of the fellaheen group themselves around him. 
That would be so at the present moment, without 
the army of occupation. The presence of the 
British troops, and of Lord Cromer, acts as 
the counterweight to the absolute power of the 



186 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

Khedive, and as a check upon it. You must not 
talk of evacuation unless you have lost your 
reason, or unless you are satisfied with merely 
making money, under no matter what rigime, 
and are indifferent to what happens beyond that. 
Of course, the French understand the sentiments 
of the classe dirigeante, and turn them to account, 
but if the country could be told that the existing 
situation is not provisional, your difficulties would 
diminish as if by magic. You see, the native 
population has the impression that the English 
intend to go away at some time or other, and 
they feel it to be a matter of life and death to 
them to put themselves on good terms with those 
who would then come into power, viz. the classe 
dirigeante I have described. It is not a question 
of patriotism ; the editors of the Opposition Arabic 
sheets know that as well as I do, but they have 
learnt to use the phrases which have a patriotic 
ring. The harm is the consequence of Mr. Glad- 
stone's repeated pledges. That man, by his shallow 
conception of Egyptian conditions, and by his 
never-failing talk, did more to wrong the fellah, 
and more to retard the progress of the country, 
than anything else that dates from the events in 
1882, — or, I ought to say, not Mr. Gladstone, but 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 187 

England under his influence. You were wrong, 
too, in assuming when you came here that you 
ought to govern through the governing class, and 
limit yourself to the control. You ought to have 
understood that the governing class is antipathetic 
to the people. If you did it to gain the goodwill 
of that classe dirigeante, you made so prodigious 
a blunder that " — the speaker broke into a laugh— 
" I can hardly characterize it." Adverting to the 
scanty but invariable grounds of the opposition 
by the French themselves, M. Kyriacopoulo ended : 
" The French come and tell you such absurd 
things that you might well marvel where they 
have left their senses. For instance, they will say 
that agriculture and the finances are in a terrible 
state, when you know that the exact contrary is 
the case, and they ought to know it, too. In fact, 
they do know it. ' They have too much intelligence 
to believe what they come and tell you. I wager 
that among themselves they laugh at what they 
have said. As for the ' neutralization ' of Egypt, 
you cannot trancher une question by a word. 
We have to look at internal government here, 
and what is * neutralization ' ? If it signifies any- 
thing, it is ' internationalization,' which is precisely 
the regime of privilege, confusion, bribery, and 



1 88 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

hopelessness, of which the country had a bitter 
experience prior to 1882 — of which the capitula- 
tions are a visible reminder — and from which 
you partially rescued the Egyptian people by the 
fact of your occupation in 1882." 



CHAPTER XI. 

Returning to Ismailia by the main line from 
Cairo, the traveller whose own term of sojourn in 
the country has reached its close feels for the first 
time, perhaps, at the spectacle of leisured people 
about to follow the road he is relinquishing, the 
force of the strange charm which Egypt exerts. 
These people may be the men of commerce for 
whom the certitude of a settled Egypt, insensitive 
to European diplomatic rumours, would mean the 
investment of capital at present holding aloof, 
though wanted ; or they may be mere cyphers 
in social distractions, contributing their share to 
a common useful end, unwittingly ; or they may 
be new eager Egyptologists, bound for the latest 
wonders of the recovered past. While still beneath 
the cloudless skies, and still within the spell, the 
traveller returning would perhaps wish to change 
his place with one of these ; even the invalid, 
semi-comatose, and " condemned " elsewhere, seems 



19° EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

for an instant enviable, as he departs upon his 
way towards the calm, the rest, the magic air, 
the peaceful panoramas of the stately Nile in 
Upper Egypt But Ismailia, as the half-way 
settlement along the Suez Canal, brings us into 
touch, however faintly, with all that lies outside. 
When the Oxford tutor of the present Khedive, 
Abbas, took his leave of Egypt after a twelve 
months' residence, he wrote of the pang with 
which, despite all motives for the contrary, he 
" turned to face the dreariness of Europe." Fifteen 
years have elapsed. At Ismailia, now, the visitors 
into Egypt from England are mingled with 
Australian colonists and British Indians, deviating 
from their homeward or their outward routes to 
pay their honours to the land in Occupation, and 
to see for themselves what their countrymen have 
done ; and the relation of the news from Europe 
to the circumstances and the case of Egypt 
becomes, under the stress of recent developments, 
a topic for them all. Mr. A. J. Butler was pro- 
bably thinking of England, solely, when he wrote 
of the dreary outlook in 1881. His pupil, Abbas, 
then seven years old, has since succeeded to his 
father, Tewfik Pasha ; and if the present Khedive 
has not altogether borne out his tutor's description 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 191 

of him, as "remarkable for his sweetness of dis- 
position," he has eventually shown that he can 
learn. Men have come, and men have gone. The 
situation has altered. There were three years of 
British rule, immediately after 1883, "based on 
the principle of doing no good, and suffering all 
evil ; " but neither in England itself, nor in Europe 
generally, can there be said to be much dreariness 
of prospect just now for the British subject or the 
colonist, looking forth from Egypt " We know 
that we have stronger hands at home now," re- 
marked one of the last of the business men with 
whom I talked at Cairo — a Scotch engineer ; 
"Rosebery was an improvement upon what we 
had had before from the same party ; he was not 
too weak ; he was just strong enough ; but, even 
with Rosebery, we never knew what was going to 
happen. As soon as the present Government 
succeeded to the Rosebery Administration, the 
Egyptian Question in Egypt — in Egypt — became 
quite quiet." Some of the warmest expressions 
of pride with respect to the task pursued by the 
British in this country, proceeded from Australians. 
One of the latter proved to be so little accessible 
to the notion of any dreariness as connected with 
"home" that he consulted me repeatedly as to 



192 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

the likelihood of his arriving in England in time 
to witness a snowfall. He had heard of snow- 
storms on the Derby Day, and later. "Ah, it 
evidently doesn't appeal to you in the same 
manner," said he; "but I haven't seen snow for 
ten years, and there's something so cosy about it ! " 
The wretched nature of the railway communi- 
cation between Ismailia and Port Said was referred 
to in the earliest of these chapters. As we crawled 
onward I had ample opportunity of verifying 
certain assurances not credited on the occasion 
of the journey in the inverse direction. When 
travelling from Port Said to Ismailia, I had been 
told that the beautiful islet-dotted expanse, fringed 
with palms, which stretched away to the horizon 
on our left across the canal, was not a lake, but 
mirage. " There is no water over there," had stated 
the Suez Canal Company's British pilot ; " that's all 
desert." And desert I found it to be, on returning 
along the same ground. Desert on the one side as 
on the other ; and at the bare line which had thus 
been clothed in illusion the rim of the sun would 
peer, and rise to-morrow, just as at this moment 
it neared the bare line opposite to the west, and 
dropped out of sight In the gloom, the flashing 
of the electric light from vessels advancing at their 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 193 

snail's pace through the canal gives to that turn- 
pike road of the world a mysterious and, indeed, 
imposing character which it is far from possessing 
under the light of day. Another of the three or 
four British pilots employed by the Suez Canal 
Company sat in the adjoining compartment of the 
pinched carriage, and the sound of his voice, some- 
times in one language, sometimes in another, 
recalled the accents of his comrade, and the 
linguistic proficiency of that comrade, on the 
occasion when the vista of brown desert towards 
Syria had been veiled in the counterfeit " due to 
refractions of light." 

Instances of the ease with which the British in 
general who are scattered up and down the Levant 
sustain their share in the polyglot conversations 
thereabouts, became all the more noticeable from 
the fact that a present neighbour was one of the 
overrated linguistic Germans who are met with 
abroad as travelling representatives of English 
commercial houses. This gentleman, with good 
English, but quite inferior French, and with no 
other language apart from his own, intimated that 
he travelled for his English firm from Spain to 
Morocco, and from Morocco through Algiers, Tunis, 
and Egypt. Another German, whom I came 

O 



194 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

across at Cairo, and who represented an extremely 
important English manufacturing firm, had a 
boisterous inaccurate kind of English, a lumbering, 
irritating sort of French that must have cost his 
employers many orders from French-speaking 
customers, but good Spanish, which he required 
for business tours through South America. The 
managers of English hotels, too, were usually 
Germans who had learnt their business, as they 
acknowledged — when they did not boast of it — in 
subordinate situations in London. "We work for 
little, so long as we are learning," I heard an hotel- 
manager say rather vengefully, to an Englishman 
who had levelled the reproach that the Germans 
underbid, — "but, when we know, we exact our 
terms." The two particular cases above mentioned, 
however, are types of several. Both those gentle- 
men appeared to be in receipt of liberal salaries, 
but I could not discover that they possessed any 
special business gifts. On the contrary, the tedious- 
ness of their explanations, a lack of real discernment 
and tact, with an insistence upon their personal 
opinions where they were clearly but half-informed, 
seemed to ruffle and annoy some of the very people 
with whom they hoped to conclude agreements ; 
and no amount of suppleness or flattery, afterwards, 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 195 

would succeed in removing the irritation they 
had unconsciously aroused. That they should be 
found filling such excellent situations for English 
houses must convey to numbers among their 
customers a poor idea of the capabilities to be 
reckoned upon among the English themselves. 
The strong points to be perceived in them were 
steadiness, and a martinet attention to their 
business. As a linguist the average German 
commercial traveller in the East is, of course, far 
outshone by the Levantine ; and if. the latter's 
title to a responsible firm's confidence needs a 
great deal of guarantee, there are Englishmen and 
Scotchmen out here who have been born in the 
Levantine's own latitudes. A Briton has come 
out in the past, and has married into the nationality 
amidst which he has settled, and the children grow 
up to speak the languages that are all around 
them. I was introduced at Alexandria to a 
British non-commissioned officer attached to the 
staff at Cairo who was reputed to speak five 
languages. That seemed a respectable total, but 
on meeting him again accidentally at Cairo, and 
on inquiring whether it were the fact, I learnt 
from him that the figure should have been, not 
five, but eight He was the son of an English 



196 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

missionary who had gone out to Syria ; he had 
been born in Syria ; and his. languages were Russ, 
Greek, Italian, German, French, English, Turkish, 
and Arabic. The British authorities at Cairo are 
well supplied with such cases. Egypt alone is a 
school for Italian and modern Greek, to say 
nothing of Arabic, French, and English. There 
being small domestic and no parochial politics in 
and about Egypt, international affairs are talked 
by everybody, and many of us were asked, during 
the recent " strained relations " with Germany, 
why, with the German press and public adopting 
towards England so unexpected a tone, Germans 
were retained in any responsible English situations. 
German sentiment was supposed to have exhibited 
the greatest ingratitude towards a country which 
formed the most secure and most profitable outlet 
for hosts of industrious Germans, ultimately serving 
the Fatherland. However this may be, the young 
men who compete for scanty clerkships in the 
towns of Great Britain can reconquer ground lost 
to foreigners, and considerably embellish their 
prospects, if they will take the trouble to acquire 
— not in literary perfection, nor for nonsensi- 
cal ostentation, but for practical use, as far as 
the comparatively narrow bounds of commercial 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 197 

intercourse — two foreign languages. It has not 
always been pleasant to hear a would-be patroniz- 
ing German traveller, "manager" of a "foreign 
department " in England, talk in a lofty style about 
" my shorthand clerks," i.e. the English clerks who 
are placed under him by English employers, and 
who appear usually to be satisfied with the 
accomplishments of shorthand and type-writing, in 
which they can be undersold now by women. 

Since the previous journey along the Suez Canal 
Company's foolish little line, fitful disturbances 
had continued in the Turkish provinces to be 
visited by the English missionary whose acquaint- 
ance I made at that time. When I parted from 
him, he was bent on purchasing cartridges for his 
revolver ; I could glean no subsequent news of 
him. The recollection of the acquaintance brought 
to the memory his queer account of the Ottoman 
spy system in Egypt. The tale of a secret 
organization of which the members recognize one 
another by the fashion of wearing or carrying a 
rose, or of clasping the hand when walking in 
pairs, had a ring of the fantastic, nor did the useful 
purpose to be answered by the system become 
readily apparent But futile things are, no doubt, 
what the Porte does habitually. The reverend 



198 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

gentleman in question stated that he had been in 
Arab cafis, discoursing with the native Moslems 
upon the Armenian grievances, when the entrance 
of a single individual, not differing outwardly from 
the rest, would either at once divert the conversa- 
tion to topics entirely irrelevant, or empty the 
establishment. At other times, said he, "men 
come in and relate stories, and after a while they 
give out a sign. The ordinary people gradually 
disappear, until the only persons remaining are 
those who have received the sign, and who have 
information to lodge, or to exchange." One of my 
informants in responsible quarters at Cairo put the 
total of such spies through the Turkish provinces 
at ten thousand. The system is hollow enough in 
Egypt at the present time, but under a less whole- 
some regime, or under any new fanatical incentive, 
it might assume the character of a very stern reality 
indeed. These are Ottoman spies, reporting in 
Egypt to the non-official agency which the Sultan 
set up at Cairo with Mukhtar Pasha — a reluctant 
representative of such business — at its head. 
What have they to report, I asked. The " current 
thought of the country," was the missionary's 
response ; and under the existing rigime, peaceful 
and prosperous, the reply seemed rather absurd. 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 199 

"Any stuff they can concoct," was the response of 
my informant at Cairo. The latter quoted one of 
his own friends, a known Turkish spy — to be a 
spy for the Sultan is to be a great man — as 
avowing that " the bigger the lie, the better it is 
for us." It may be wondered by the reader 
whether any Intelligence Department devotes 
attention to such matters, in the British occupa- 
tion. The answer to be met with everywhere in 
Egypt is, "Lord Cromer knows everything that 
goes on." 

Allusions to the British Consul-General have 
hitherto been few in these pages. If Lord Cromer 
himself were consulted as to any narrative of 
benefits conferred upon Egypt by the British, he 
might confidently be expected to stipulate for no 
mention whatever of his name. The subject 
cannot be so dismissed. The onerous part he has 
sustained in this guidance of a country towards 
order, solvency, strength, and the brightest of 
outlooks, moral and material, may be well enough 
known within the country itself, and within every 
Governmental sphere in Europe, but is hardly 
understood at home among his compatriots in 
general. The frightful complexities and ardu- 
ousness of the task, its peculiar delicacy, the 



2oo EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

sensitiveness of the whole undertaking to all sorts 
of influences unconnected with Egypt herself, must 
await the deliberate historian for an adequate 
measure of justice ; but they ought not to escape 
the popular attention altogether, while the man 
who has wrought so much for both England and 
Egypt continues at his post. These are no lines 
due to suggestion, interest, or favour. The attempt 
to portray broadly the Egypt of the day, Egypt 
at a stage of evolution, will have never departed 
from the completest independence of official 
opinion or bias, if any such there be. As a matter 
of fact, the opinion of a British official in Egypt 
is about as hard to elicit as anything can be in 
this world. 

The sincerest testimony to Lord Cromer's 
value resides perhaps in the dread with which 
his eventual retirement is contemplated by all 
classes. Even the French and Turkish oppo- 
sition can scarcely be described as pining for the 
day when Lord Cromer will be no longer in Egypt ; 
for the successor might prove less tolerant The 
mixed European community fear the departure of 
Lord Cromer, for the reason that his successor 
might prove less strong ; whilst the masses of the 
fellaheen look to the same prospect with anxiety 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 201 

because his successor might prove less " paternal " 
for them, and less equitable. If we consult the 
British, whether they have settled in the country 
before or since the occupation, we discover that 
both the older type of resident, who thinks the 
courbash ought never to have been abolished, and 
deems the Arab incorrigibly ungrateful and men- 
dacious, and the newer generation, who hold to 
the virtues of a gentle and humane rule for the 
native population, view the contingency with mis- 
giving. The simple rumour that Lord Cromer 
has been studying Turkish of late suffices to 
depress the friends of the British occupation. Why 
should the "King of Egypt," as he is currently 
styled, need the Turkish language, unless he were 
proposing to exchange Cairo for Constantinople ? 
So runs the argument, among supporters and 
opponents alike ; and the pessimistic fringe of 
the British official circles at Cairo nourish their 
gloomy forebodings upon reiterations of the in- 
disputable fact that "we have promised to go," 
and upon stories of the difficulty experienced in 
obtaining British candidates for the Egyptian civil 
service. " So-and-So, just the man for such-and- 
such a place, would not come out, because he sees 
no guarantee for a career ; " and somebody else of 



202 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

exceptional fitness, who would have been well 
inclined to disregard the " career," could not really 
afford to accept, " being a poor man, and not con- 
vinced that it would last." We have promised; 
now comes the question, as Lord Cromer might 
say, " whether we can go." It may be laid down 
without fear of contradiction that Lord Cromer 
himself does not see how England possibly can go 
out of Egypt Looking at the enormous interests 
involved, it is in the highest degree improbable 
that the whole machine would ever be allowed to 
collapse ; but nobody — " nobody on earth " was 
the phrase used to myself — has hitherto been able 
to guarantee to British capital that the English 
would stay ; and the investors who have held back 
have been outrun by bolder or more sagacious men 
of Continental nationalities. 

British capital would be welcomed in Egypt by 
the British authorities ; but it must go there on 
a large scale, and those who despatch it must not 
imagine that they can reap a great deal by diplo- 
matic means. Lord Cromer's answer to the com- 
plaint that tenders from home are shelved for 
those of Belgian, French, or German origin would 
be that the English must suit themselves to their 
customers, and that when they offer a certain 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 203 

article, and something else is wanted, they must 
either endeavour to supply the article required, or 
put up with defeat at the hands of people who 
do what the English either cannot or will not do. 
The contracts given out to foreign firms by Govern- 
ment departments are defended on the ground 
that the only general basis upon which such busi- 
ness can be transacted must be that of accepting 
the tender which is lowest The British manu- 
facturer at home is sometimes found by the repre- 
sentatives of his Government in Egypt to be a 
personage who wants a great deal of help, and yet 
to be very hard to help ; he is slow in adapting him- 
self to a diversity of requirements, and he is bad at 
taking advice. In the matter of the locomotive 
engines, the grievance of the British contractors 
at Alexandria and Cairo, the case is regarded in 
official circles as merely one of underselling with 
a Belgian product which, although it would not 
have satisfied the people at home, satisfied the 
people here, viz. those who framed the specification 
and were going to pay the money. Lord Cromer 
cannot interfere to specially protect British industry. 
He pursues one aim — the development and happi- 
ness of Egypt. His answer to the charges that 
official backslieesh still flourishes, and, indeed, has 



2o4 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

increased during the past three years, would be, 
firstly, that no definite instances of any such 
bribery are brought forward ; secondly, that back- 
sheesh cannot be eradicated by a stroke of the pen ; 
and, thirdly, that the British authorities in Egypt 
are "trying to do what Lord Cornwallis did in 
India in 1796," viz. to pay the Government officials 
upon a scale which will enable them to subsist with- 
out accepting bribes. In this way, with prompt 
punishment when any such cases are discovered, 
the corruption should diminish by degrees, and 
should die out as far as human frailty may permit. 
" Until our time in Egypt," a British functionary 
at Cairo said to me, " a man could not live without 
receiving bribes. Jobbery became inevitable ; and 
it existed everywhere." Lord Cromer's comment, 
again, upon the fact that the greatly extended 
irrigation by the British since 1883 had virtually 
ruined a branch of British industry in Egypt, 
ought to be served up as often as possible by the 
three journals which champion the Occupation, to 
the unscrupulous French and Arabic press of the 
other side. " Instead of having to buy pumps, the 
fellaheen get water now by a system of gravi- 
tation," said he ; " it is possible that the English 
may have suffered by the decline in the demand, 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 205 

but that is part of our work in Egypt — that is the 
testimony to what we have done." There are six 
millions of fellaheen who know at the present time 
not only that the irrigation cuttings bring the 
precious Nile to the soil itself, but that the rich man 
can no longer monopolize the water, or take it out 
of his turn. Lord Cromer has been asked whether 
he thinks that the fellaheen Understand that good 
has been wrought for them. " They understand 
water and justice," he replied.* 
' Have the fellaheen short memories for the good 
that has been done ? I have frequently heard the 
point debated, and it ought never to be lost sight 
of by the Mokattam, the Progres, and the Egyptian 
Gazette. They have not short memories for the 

* An anecdote of the British Consul-General, in the midst of 
divers recent diplomatic pre-occupations, has been retailed through 
the polyglot gossip of Egypt with universal relish for an instance of 
characteristic imperturbability. Lord Cromer is a player of lawn- 
tennis ; and he was accustomed to meet three other followers of the 
game, for a " four," every afternoon. The diplomatic situation 
suddenly became acute. One only of the four attended at the daily 
rendezvous. The other three, penetrated with a sense of the grave 
difficulties in which British interests ought to consider themselves 
all at once involved, deemed it the more seemly course, or the 
more delicate attention to the chief of the Maison Britannique, to 
stay away. Lord Cromer, who alone attended, was exceedingly 
surprised, the story goes, that any one should break an appointment, 
and exceedingly disappointed that he should lose his "afternoon 
set." 



ao6 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

performances by the French at the commencement 
of the century. They have not forgotten that the 
French under Napoleon stabled their horses in 
the mosques, and that when the French military 
occupation collapsed, Napoleon's troops put up to 
auction the Egyptian women and girls whom they 
had appropriated. When at the capital, I repeated 
to a personage well situated to follow popular 
sentiment throughout the country, the assertion 
by the well-known Austrian financier at Alexandria 
that a plibiscite through Egypt would certainly 
yield a majority in favour of the British occu- 
pation. " He might have gone farther," was the 
response ; " he might have added that if the vote 
could be secret, it would yield, not a majority, but 
unanimity." 

And what will be said of this, by way of testi- 
mony to the progress achieved under the British — 
that a movement has latterly arisen in Syria for 
union with Egypt ! A Syrian gentleman of inde- 
pendent position, and of the remarkable culture 
which is the splendid fruit of the work done in 
that province by the American Missionary Society, 
admitted the existence of the movement to me 
in the cautious words : " Many Syrians would be 
ready, on a partition of Turkey, to propose to the 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 207 

Khedive that Syria should be annexed to Egypt." 
We have discussed the gratitude of the fellaheen ; 
we cannot tell what gratitude is to be expected 
from the Khedive. The latter is a young man ; 
"we were none of us very wise, I suppose, when 
we were his age," observed M. Kyriacopoulo, I 
remember; and in some things he is growing to 
resemble his grandfather, Ismail. Those who can 
speak of Ismail Pasha from direct cognizance, 
assert that the resemblance can be traced in 
personal appearance as well as in particular 
attributes. He has had a tendency towards 
dictation, however, which is all his own, unless 
we seek for it still further back in the dynastic 
progeniture. But, in the first place, the Khedive 
Abbas II. is not popular in Egypt — the family 
itself, being Turkish, is not popular, — and, in the 
second place, his frame of mind appears to have 
undergone a material change since his visit to 
Constantinople last year. The story current in 
Cairo is that, apart from the half-million sterling 
which he was reported to have offered the Sultan 
as an inducement towards joint action against 
England, he addressed himself to the Porte in the 
character of a useful ally. On arriving at Con- 
stantinople, he found that he was nothing but a 



208 EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

vassal there. The Sultan kept him in attendance 
day after day before he would grant an audience, 
then received him most haughtily, and, next, 
forbade him to quit Constantinople until he had 
received permission. For two months the Khedive 
was kept hanging about. At length, after an 
interval which had taught him de visu the real 
proportions of British power, he was allowed by 
his suzerain to return ; and, in order to conceal 
the fiasco, the Opposition Arabic sheets in Egypt 
represented to their readers among the fellaheen 
that he had been yachting in the Mediterranean, 
and had passed some time upon an island in the 
Archipelago which belongs to the Khedivial 
house. He has abilities, and up to the present 
he has exhibited a good deal of pertinacity. 
People say in Egypt : " The Khedive is under 
Lord Cromer ; Lord Cromer is king." * At the 

* The phrase has travelled as far as the columns of anti-British 
Continental journals, where its reproduction has been so managed 
as to convey the idea that Lord Cromer's compatriots are the people 
who bestow that appellation upon him, or that his lordship himself 
has usurped the title. Behind those columns are opponents 
whom the popular colloquialism unavoidably displeases. The man 
the least likely to be pleased with it, however, is the British Consul- 
General. No one who has been present at a meeting of the British 
Consul-General with the Khedive can have failed to observe the 
studious deference of his lordship's bearing towards the Sovereign 
of the State. 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 209 

same time they are not altogether proof against 
the little surprises which the Khedive occasionally 
seems to arrange. Not to dwell upon the incidents 
of a moment only, there is for numerous persons 
a marked significance in his exclusive encourage- 
ment of the French at the Cairo Opera-house. 
This public establishment is the property not of 
the State, nor of private individuals, but of the 
Khedive. It has a French manager ; French 
plays are performed there by a French company ; 
and the Khedive pointedly supports it by an 
almost nightly attendance. I was told at Cairo — 
the speaker was not of British nationality — that, 
however inferior the French art might be that he 
got there, the Khedive was determined to keep 
out the English. A ridiculous detail in the 
situation had been the attitude of the manager 
on the arrival of the troupe. He displayed the 
tricolour, assembled the company, and addressed 
them in solemn terms to the effect that they were 
here not merely to illustrate French art, but to 
" uphold the prestige of the French flag." 

A tribute must be paid, once more, to all those 
British administrators who have severally suc- 
ceeded in doing various things that had previously 
been deemed impossible. Their most conspicuous 

P 



2io EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 

achievements we have seen. But, quietly, without 
self-advertisement, or airs of superior claim to 
recognition, — in plain devotion to the work before 
them for the time— they have done other useful 
things, both in detail and in large breadth of plan. 
They have to a great extent cured the native 
Egyptian of his aversion to military service ; the 
conscription has now become almost popular. 
They have organized an efficient police force ; 
have set up a coinage which substitutes for the 
previous chaos a currency combining the pound 
sterling with the decimal system ; and they are 
only debarred from pushing on a large scheme of 
education by the absence of funds. 

I have presented many witnesses in the course 
of this inquiry ; and, not in any instance, although 
the evidence has not invariably been of identical 
purport, have the depositions been in the smallest 
degree warped or modified. The conclusion shall 
still be in the words of others : " I do not know 
if the English govern everywhere as they govern 
in Egypt," summed up at Cairo a native of high 
and responsible position — a gentleman whom 
Mr. Chamberlain saw and questioned very minutely, 
when he was in Egypt — " but if they do, then I 
say that they are sent by God to rule the world." 



EGYPT UNDER THE BRITISH. 211 

The Arabesque of language, and the Oriental 
decorativeness, may be pardoned in a man who 
has lived beneath the miseries of the misrule in 
the past For an utterance in a different tone, 
and from a different source, but not less vigorous 
in corroboration, I may quote the verdict of a 
somewhat cynical Hellene, who closed a survey of 
human liberties and international politics with this 
paraphrase of a mot long famous — " Si FAngleterre 
■riexistaitpas, ilfaudrait tinventer? 



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On Heroes, Hero Worship, and the Heroic in History. 
Past and Present. 

Critical and Miscellaneous Essays. 7 vols. 
The Life of Schiller, and Examination of his "Works. With 

Portrait. 
Latter-Day Pamphlets. 
Wilhelm Meister. 3 vols. 
Life of John Sterling. With Portrait. 
History of Frederick the Great. With Maps. 10 vols. 
Translations from Musasus, Tieck, and Richter. 2 vols. 
The Early K>ngs of Norway ; Essay on the Portraits of Knox 

and General Index to Carlyle's Works. With Portraits. 



CHEAP ISSUE. 

In crown 8vo volumes, bound in blue cloth. 
The French Revolution. With Portrait. 2s. 
Sartor Resartus, Heroes and Hero Worship, Past and 

Present, and Chartism. With Portrait. Zs. 
Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches. With Portrait. 

Zs. 6d. 
Critical and Miscellaneous Essays. 2 vols. 4_r. 
Wilhelm Meister. Zs. 
Lives of Schiller and Sterling. With Portraits. Zs. 



Books published by Chapman & Hall, Ltd. 33 

CHARLES DICKENS'S WORKS. 

REPRINTS OF THE ORIGINAL EDITIONS. 

In demy %vo, uniform green cloth. 
The Mystery of Edwin Brood. With Illustrations by S. L. FlI.DES, 

and a Portrait engraved by Baker. 7s. 6d. 
Our Mutual Friend. With 40 Illustrations by Marcus Stone. 21s. 
The Pickwick Papers. With 43 Musts, by Seymour and Phiz. 21t.' 
Nicholas Nickleby. . With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 21s. 
Sketches by "Boz." With 40 Musts, by George Cruikshank. 21s. 
Martin Chuzzlewit. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 21s. 
Dombey and Son. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 21s. 
David Copperfield. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 21s. 
Bleak House. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 21s. 
Iiittle Dorrit. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 21s. 
The Old Curiosity Shop. With 75 Illustrations by George Catter- 

mole and H. K. Browne. 21t. 
Barnaby Endge : a Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty. With 78 Illustrations 

by George Cattermole and H. K. Browne. 21s. 
Christmas Books. With all the original Illustrations. 12s. 
Oliver Twist. With 24 Illustrations by George Cruikshank. Us. 
A Tale of Two Cities. With 16 Illustrations by Phiz. ■ Qs. - 
Oliver Twist and Tale of Two Cities. In one volume. 21*. 
** * 7 lie remainder of Dickens s Works were not originally printed in demy 8zio. 



THE ILLUSTRATED LIBRARY EDITION. 

In 30 volumes, demy %vo, green cloth, with Original Illustrations, £15. 
Separate volumes, 10.r. each. 

Pickwick Papers. With 42 Illustrations by Phiz. 2 vols. 

Nicholas Nickleby. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 2 vols. 

Old Curiosity Shop and Keprinted Pieces. With Illustrations by 
Cattermole, &c. 2 vols. 

Barnaby Budge and Hard Times. With Illustrations by Catter- 
mole, &c. 2 vols. 

Martin Chuzzlewit. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 2 vols. 

Dombey and Son. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 2 vols. 

David Copperfield. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 2 vols. 

Bleak House. Wilh 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 2 vols. 

Little Dorrit. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 2 vols. 

Cur Mutual Friend. With 40 Illustrations by Marcus Stone. 2 vols. 

A Tale of Two Cities. With 16 Illustrations by Phiz. 

The Uncommercial Traveller. With 8 Musts, by Marcus Stone. 

Great Expectations. With 8 Illustrations by Marcus Stone. 

Oliver Twist. With 24 Illustrations by Cruikshank. 

Sketches by "Boz." With 40 Illustrations by George Cruikshank. 

Christmas Books. With 17 Illustrations by Landseer, Maclise, &c. 

American Notes and Pictures from Italy. With 8 Illustrations. 

A Child's History of England. With 8 Illusts. by Marcus Stone. 

Christmas Stories. With 14 Illustrations. 

Edwin Drood and Other Stories. With 12 Illustrations by S. L. 
FlLDES. 

Uniform with above. 

Life of Charles Dickens. By John Forster. With Portraits. 
2 vols. 



34 Books published by Chapman &• Hall, Ltd. 

CHARLES DICKENS'S WORKS.— Continued.^ . -■ 
THE LIBRARY EDITION. • r 

In 30 volumes, post $vo, red cloth, with all the Original Illustrations, £12. 

Separate volumes 8s. each. 
Pickwick Papers. With 43 Illustrations. 2 vols. 
Nicholas Nickleby. With 39 Illustrations. 2 vols.' 
Martin Chuzzlewit. With 40 Illustrations. 2 vols. [2 vols". 

Old Curiosity Shop and Beprinted Pieces. With 36 Illustrations. 
Barnaby Budge and Hard Times. With 36 Illustrations. 2 vols. : -■■ 
Bleak House. With 40 Illustrations. 2 vols. 
Little Dorrit. With 40 Illustrations. 2 vols. 
Dombey and Son. With 38 Illustrations. 2 vols. 
David Copper-field. With 38 Illustrations. 2 vols. 
Our Mutual Friend. With 40 Illustrations. 2 vols. 
Sketches by " Boz." With 39 Illustrations. 
Oliver Twist. With 24 Illustrations. 
Christmas Books. With 17 Illustrations. 
A Tale of Two Cities. With 16 Illustrations. 
Great Expectations. With 8 Illustrations. " 

Pictures from Italy and American Notes. ' With 8 Illustrations. 
Uncommercial Traveller. --With 8 Illustrations. "'£-•-■ <-" ■-'"- ;: - »--.- -'- 
A Child's History of England. -With 8 Illustrations. : ' 
Edwin Drood and miscellanies. With 12 Illustrations. 

Christmas Stories. With 14 Illustrations 

'■-.-■ ■■/-'■- Uniform with tlie aioye,10s. Qd. ~ '-.'.-." 

The "Life of Charles Sickens. BvJohnForsterJ \ With Illustrations. 



THE "CHARLES DICKENS" EDITION. 

In 21 volumes, crown Svo, red cloth, with Illustrations, £3 16s. 
Pickwick Papers. With 8 Illustrations.: 4r. ' -:--_ 

Martin Chuzzlewit. With 8 Illustrations. As. 
Dombey and Son. With 8 Illustrations. 4j. 
Nicholas Nickleby. With 8 Illustrations. 4j. 
David Copperfleld. With 8 Illustrations. 4j. 
Bleak House. With 8 Illustrations. 4>.' 
Little Dorrit. With 8 Illustrations. Aj. 
Our Mutual Priend. Willi 8 Illustrations. 4j. 
Barnaby Budge. With 8 Illustrations. " Ss. Qd. 
Old Curiosity Shop. With 8 Illustrations. 3s. Gd. 
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Great Expectations. : With 8 Illustrations. 3s. Qd: 

A Tale of Two Cities. With 8 Illustrations. 3*. - .::..; 

Hard Times and Pictures from Italy; = With 8 Illustrations. -3s.- 
TJneommercial Traveller. With 4 Illustrations. 3s. 

Uniform with the above. 
The Life of Charles Dickens. '" With Illustrations. 2 vols. 7s. 
The Letters of Charles Dickens. With Illustrations. 2 vols. 7s. 



Books published by Chapman &■ Hall,' Ltd. '35 
CHARLES, DICKENS'S WORKS.— Continued. 

THE CROWN EDITION. 

In 17 volumes, large crown 8vo, maroon cloth, Original Illustrations, ££. 5s. 
Separate volumes, 5s. each. 

Pickwick Papers. With 43 Illustrations by SEYMOUR and Phiz. 

Nicholas Nickleby. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. ■-. 

Dombey and Son. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 

David Copperfield. With 40 Illustrations by P.HIZ. ; , , ;i ,•■ _• 

Sketcb.es by " Boz." With 40 Illusts. by Geo. Cruikshank. - 

Martin Chuzzlewit. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz.;: . r>. : . 

Old Curiosity Shop. With 75 Illustrations by George Catter- 
mole and H. K. Browne. 

Barnaby Budge. With 78 'Illustrations' by George Catter- 
mole and H. K. Browne. --...._:; . : ::"-. /• 

Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities. -With 24 Illustra- 
tions by Cruikshank and 16 by Phiz. " ' : ; -"■ - - J 

Bleak House. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. "/■";_"■". -.-;■ 

Little Dorrit. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 

Our Mutual Friend. With ;4o Illustrations by MARCUS STONE. 

American Notes "; Pictures'from Italy ^ arid A Child's History 
of England. With 16 Illustrations by Marcus Stone. 

Christmas Books and Hard Times. With Illustrations by 
Landseer, Maclise, Stanfield, Leech, Doyle, F. Walker, &c. 

Christmas Stories and Other Stories, including Humphrey's 
Clock. With Illustrations by Dai.ziel, Charles Green, Ma- 
honey, Phiz, Cattermole, etc. 

Great Expectations and Uncommercial Traveller. With 16 

Illustrations by Marcus Stone. 
Edwin Drood and Reprinted Pieces. With 16 Illustrations 

by Luke Fildes and F. Walker. 

Uniform •with the above. 

The Life of Charles Dickens. By John Forstee. With 
Portraits and Illustrations. 

The Dickens Dictionary. A Key to the Characters and Principal 
Incidents" in the Tales of Charles Dickens. By Gilbert Pierce, 
with additions by William A. Wheeler. -:,.;:::;■ 

The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices ; No Thoroughfare ; 
The Perils of Certain English Prisoners. By Charles 
Dickens and Wilkie Collins. With Illustrations. _; ;.*,, 

%* These Stories arc now reprinted in complete Jorm for the first time. 



36 Books published by Chapman & Hall, Ltd. 

CHARLES DICKENS'S WORKS.— Continued. 
THE HALF-CROWN EDITION. 

In 2 1 volumes, crown Svo, Hue cloth. Original Illustrations, £2 12j. QJ. 

. Separate volumes, 2s. 6d. each. 
The Pickwick Papers. With 43 Illustrations liy Seymour and Phiz. 
Barnaby Budge. With 76 Illustrations by Cattermole and Phiz. 
Oliver Twist. With 24 Illustrations by Cruikshank. 
The Old Curiosity Shop. With 75 Illustrations by Cattermole, &c. 
David CopperfieTd. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 
Nicholas Nickleby. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 
Martin Chuzzlewit. With 40 Illustrations by Thiz. 
Dombey and Son. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 
Sketches by " Boz." With 40 Illustrations by George Cruikshank. 
Christmas Books. With 64 Illustrations by Landseer, Doyle, &c. 
Bleak House. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 
Little Dorrit. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz. 
Christmas Stories. With 14 Illustrations by Dalziel, Greek, &c. 
American Notes and Reprinted Pieces. With 8 Illustrations by 

Marcus Stone and F. Walker. 
Hard Times and Pictures from Italy. With 8 Illustrations by F. 

Walker and Marcus Stone. 
A Child's History of England. With 8 Illusts. by MARCUS Stone. 
Great Expectations. With 8 Illustrations by Marcus Stone. 
Tale of Two Cities. With 16 Illustrations by Phiz. 
Uncommercial Traveller. With 8 Illustrations by Marcus Stone. 
Our Mutual Friend. With 40 Illustrations by Marcus Stone. 
Edwin Drood and Other Stories. With 12 Illustrations by Fildes. 



THE PICTORIAL, EDITION. 

In 1 7 volumes, with over 900 Illustrations, royal Svo, red cloth, £2 19s. 6J. 
Separate volumes, 3s. Qd. each. 

Dombey and Son. With 62 Illustrations by K. Barnard. 

David Copperfleld. With 61 Illustrations by F. Barnard. 

Nicholas Nickleby. With 59 Illustrations by F. Barnard. 

Barnaby Budgre. With 46 Illustrations by F. Barnard. 

Old Curiosity Shop. With 39 Illustrations by Charles Green. 

Martin Chuzzlewit. With 59 Illustrations by F. Barnard. 

Oliver Twist and a Tale of Two Cities. With 53 Illustrations by 
J. Mahonev and F. Barnard. 

Our Mutual Friend. With 58 Illustrations by J. Mahoney. 

Bleak House. With 61 Illustrations by F. Barnard. 

Pickwick Papers. With 57 Illustrations by Phiz. 

Little Dorrit. With 58 Illustrations by J. Mahoney. 

Great Expectations and Hard Times. With 50 Illustrations by 
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Sketches by "Boz" and Christmas Books. With 62 Illustrations 
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Christmas Stories and Uncommercial Traveller. With 49 
Illustrations by E. G. Dalziel. 

Edwin Drood, and other Stories. With 30 Illusts. by L. Fildes, &c. 

The Life of Charles Dickens. By John Forster. With 40 Illus- 
trations by F. Barnard and others. 



Books published by Chapman & Hall, Ltd. 37 

CHARLES DICKENS'S WORKS.— Continued. 

THE HOUSEHOLD EDITION. 

In 22 volumes, iticluding the "LIFE," crown 4/0, green cloth, £4 8s. Qd. 
Martin Chuzzlewit. With 59 Illustrations. 5s. 
David Copperfield. With 60 Illustrations and a Portrait. 5s. 
Bleak House. With 61 Illustrations. 5s. 
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Pickwick Papers. With 56 Illustrations. 5s. 
Our Mutual Friend. With 58 Illustrations. 5s. 
Nicholas Nickleby. With 59 Illustrations. 5s. 
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Christmas Stories. With 23 Illustrations. 4s. 
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Great Expectations. With 26 Illustrations. 3s. 
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Uncommercial Traveller. With 26 Illustrations. 3s. 
Christmas Books. With 28 Illustrations. 3j. ' 
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American Notes and Pictures from Italy. With iS Illusts. 3s. 
A Tale of Two Cities. With 25 Illustrations. 3s. 
Hard Times. With 20 Illustrations. 2s. 6d. 
The Life of Dickens. By John FORSTER. With 40 Illusts. 5s. 
The Illustrations in this Edition are by the same artists as itt-the Pictorial 
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THE CHRISTMAS BOOKS. 

REPRINTED FROM THE ORIGINAL PLATES. 
Illustrated by John Leech, D. Maclise, R.A., R. Doyle, &c. 
Fcap. 8vo, red cloth, \s. each. The Jive volumes, complete in a case, 5s. 
A Christmas Carol in Prose. 
The Chimes : A Goblin Story. 

The Cricket on the Hearth. : A Fairy Tale of Home. 
The Battle of Life : A Love Story. 
The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Story: 



SIXPENNY EDITION. 

Bleak House. With 18 Illustrations by F. Barnard. 
Sketches by "Boz." With Illustrations by F. Barnard. 
American Notes and Italy. With Illustrations by A. B. FROST. 
Oliver Twist. With Illustrations by J. Mahoney. 
Readings from the "Works of Charles Dickens. . As selected 
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A Christmas Carol and the Haunted Man. Illustrated. 
The Chimes and the Cricket on the Hearth. Illustrated. 
Battle of Life; Hunted Down; a Holiday Romance. Illus. 



38 Books published by Chapman & Hall, Ltd. 

CHARLES DICKENS'S WORKS.— Continued. 
THE CABINET EDITION. 

In 32 volumes, small /cap. %vo, Marble Paper Sides, uncut edges, £2 8s. 

Separate volumes Is. 6d. each. .,->-• 

In Sets only, bound in decorative blue cloth, cut edges and gilt tops, complete 

in cloth box, £2 10s. 
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The Pickwick Papers. With 16 Illustrations. -" 2 vols. 
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Bleak House. With 16 Illustrations. 2 vols. - . 

American Notes and Pictures from Italy. .With 8,Jllustrations. 
Edwin Drood ; and Other Stories. With, 8 Illustrations. 
The Old Curiosity Shop. With 16 Illustrations.' .2 vols.l 
A Child's History of England. ; With 8 Illustrations. \^-/" r ,-• 
Dombey and Son. With 16 Illustrations. , 2. vols. . . - '.".T..J 
A Tale of Two Cities. With 8 Illustrations. \:,V-. " -."." 
Little Dorrit. With 16 Illustrations. 2'yols. " . '", ,", v -.-■ '■". 
Our Mutual Friend With 16 Illustrations. Z 2 vols. 
Hard Times. With 8 Illustrations. 
■Uncommercial Traveller. With 8 Illustrations. 
Reprinted Pieces. With 8 Illustrations. 

THE TWO SHILLING EDITION. 

In 21 volumes, each with a frontispiece, crown ■ Svo, red cloth, £2 2s. 
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Dombey and' Son. 
Martin Chuzzlewit. 
The Pickwick Papers. 
Bleak House. 
Old Curiosity Shop. 
Barnaby Budge. . 
David Copperfield. 
Nicholas Nickleby. 
Christmas Stories. 
American Notes. [Italy. 

Hard Times & Pictures from 



Great Expectations. 
Our Mutual Friend. 
Christmas Books. ' 
Oliver Twist. 
Little Dorrit. ' " . 
Tale of Two Cities. 
TTncommercial Traveller. 
Sketches by "Boz." [land. 
A Child's History of Eng- 
Edwin Drood and Other 
Stories. 



CHARLES DICKENS'S READINGS. ^ 

Hap. Svo, sewed, Is. each.' ".'".' V- 

Christmas Carol in Prose. Story of Little Dombey. 

~ . , , ,. „ .. Poor Traveller, Boots at the 

Cricket on the Hearth. Holly-Tree Inn, and : Mrs.- 

Chimes : A Goblin Story. Gamp. ..-- •.". ~ 



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41 



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